NASA in the 1990s : a qualitative content analysis of news magazines' coverage of the space industry

The thesis utilized the method of qualitative content analysis to analyze the press coverage of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the space industry from 1990 through 1999. Research data came from three weekly news magazines: Time, Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report. The thesis applied Herbert Gans' value system, emphasizing that news contains "enduring values" which are imparted to the reader. The study showed the media focused predominately on the following values established by Gans: individualism, small-town pastoralism and altruistic democracy. The three news magazines focused fairly evenly on the failure of NASA in general in the 1990s, the Mir Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope, John Glenn 's second return flight into space, astronaut Shannon Lucid's extended stay in space aboard Mir, and planetary exploration. The study shows the change in direction of the relationship between NASA and the media from the space agency's birth in 1958 through to the 1990s and the findings relative to Gans' value system.