Utilization of newspapers by Mew Mexico cooperative extension service agents
Publishing information that benefits society in local newspapers is a strong force in getting information to the public. The basic concept for the Cooperative Extension Service (CES) stems from the societal needs of the people and the nation, just as the mission of the CES is intended to address the needs of the people (Jones, 1992). It should be the intent of Extension agents to get important program materials and other information related to human life to the masses (Cummings, 2003). News mediums have been some of the most effective ways of getting news and information about county programs to the public (Telg, 1999).
This thesis is based on a descriptive study, pertaining to information gathered from Extension agents of the New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service (NMCES). The study was set to determine the familiarity of NMCES agents with their local newspapers. Because the entire population of agents within the NMCES was a manageable number, census sampling took place (Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996; Kirk, 1995). Contact information for the agents was obtained through the NMCES Web site.
Agents were asked to complete an online survey that posed questions pertaining to newspaper familiarity, submission habits, media relations training, and demographics. A three-digit code was given to each agent in order for researchers to manage non-response. Data was analyzed based on both qualitative and quantitative responses.
Results showed that NMCES agents felt they would benefit from further media relations training. Familiarity with newspapers seemed to influence how frequently NMCES agents utilized the resource. Researchers feel further training in media relations: submission formats, computer applications, the process of getting information published, and general communications tactics would strengthen the utilization of newspapers by NMCES agents.