International Journal for the Study of Animal Problems


The authors analyze the stories on wildlife carried in four newspapers (two urban – LA Times and Hartford Courant, and two rural – Buffalo Bulletin in Wyoming and the Dawson News, Georgia) using randomly sampled issues from 1900 to 1976. The total sample amounted to 4,873 articles from 1,777 issues of the four newspapers covering 75 years. Three periods, 1921-1927, 1930-1936, and 1961-1967 averaged more than 200 articles a year. Coverage of wildlife issues was lowest during the two World War periods. The articles were coded using a standard typology, including utilitarian and humanistic attitudes. Over the 76 years of the project, there was a decline in utilitarian attitudes in the two urban newspapers, plus significant increases in humanistic and aesthetic attitudes. The utilitarian perspective remained dominant in the two rural newspapers, but other changes indicated that, even in the rural communities, attitudes towards wildlife became more positive.