Date of Award

8-1-2004

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Hugh Reilly

Second Advisor

Dr. Dave Ogden

Third Advisor

Dr. Bruce Garver

Abstract

This thesis focused on the 1930 rollercoaster accident at Krug Park. Applying the diffusion of communication theory, and an historical standard of press performance set forth by Martin & Nelson (1956), this study found that The Omaha World-Herald and The Omaha Bee News coverage of the crash was balanced and thorough. Articles were compared to the City of Omaha amusement ride statutes. The second portion of the study examined 96 newspaper articles mentioning Krug Park between December 15, 1930, and May 25, 2001, and discovered the majority did not refer to the accident. This thesis supports previous research on crisis or disaster story reporting. Many of the articles used story-telling or dramatic leads to engage readers. Twenty-two interviews were conducted and subjects eluded to a variety of responses of how they had heard about the Krug Park roller coaster accident. Much of the information went beyond that of newspaper articles, and often gave much more graphic descriptions. Respondents shared memories of the park, including their favorite rides. This study is limited by time lapse and respondents’ living background. Potential research on Krug Park is suggested in the field of public relations tactics that park owners should have exercised.

Comments

A Thesis Presented to the School of Communication and the Faculty of the Graduate College In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Melissa L. Kucirek August, 2004.

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