BUDGETING THE BUDGET: AN ANALYSIS OF FOUR DAILY NEWSPAPERS’ COVERAGE OF THE 2009/2010 PENNSYLVANIA BUDGET IMPASSE

Open Access
Author:
Boyer, Lauren Marie
Area of Honors:
Journalism
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • John J. Curley, Thesis Supervisor
  • Robert Dwayne Richards, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Pennsylvania
  • newspapers
  • state budget
  • budget impasse
  • social media
Abstract:
The purpose of this thesis is to examine how different Pennsylvania newspapers and their statehouse reporters boiled down the complex issues surrounding the 2009/2010 state budget impasse and how that process has changed with the advent of new technology. Through a coverage analysis, it is apparent that reporters from the The Patriot-News, Philadelphia Inquirer, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette faced significant and different challenges in covering a the 101-day budget stalemate, the longest in state history. Through an analysis of articles from May 2009 to August 2009 and interviews with reporters, this research analyzes and evaluates how these publications carved their own paths in covering the budget-related issues of state worker payless paydays, a personal income tax increase proposal, the effects on state-supported programs and services, and Gov. Ed Rendell’s role in the debate. In an effort to provide comprehensive reporting of the contentious political deliberations surrounding the impasse, many reporters employed Internet blogs and social media sites like Facebook.com and Twitter.com to keep citizenry informed.