Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Images of older people in the news and entertainment media contribute to the way society learns about aging in our society. If the daily newspaper is considered a record of daily lives, then the portrayal of older people in newspaper can show us how we view the aging process and how that view changes over time. There has been little research into how newspapers portray older people, and that research has reached little consensus about the picture of aging we receive from our newspapers. This study seeks to add to the current literature about newspaper portrayal of people over 60 through a content analysis of two daily newspapers. The New York Times and The Omaha World-Herald, at two points in time, 1982 and 1992. A content analysis of 20 issues from each newspaper for each of the two years was performed, yielding 1,128 stories and photographs about people age 60 or older. The stories were coded for image and role portrayal, size and placement on the page and then categorized into and event and issue content categories. The statistical analysis uncovered little significant change over the 10-year period in The New York Times while showing a significant increase in the visibility of older people in The Omaha World-Herald by 1992.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Communication and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1995 Robert V. Whitmore.