The framework of analysis involved classifying an item according to the page on which it appears (editorial, page one of the main section, page one of any other section, or an inside page), the main focus of the item (environment and the World Bank, as opposed to a reference to environment in a story on another aspect of the World Bank's functioning), and the display it was accorded in terms of either boxing the item or carrying a visual with the item. These were rated on a scale of 1 to 14, as shown below. Separately, I recorded the space taken by an article as an indicator of prominence, using a scale ranging from 1 to 5 (see below).
The first framework thus uses the criteria of placement, content, and display (together referred to as "placement" in the equation given below) to evaluate the prominence of an item. It is generally accepted by professional journalists and media experts that page one is more important than any other page in terms of its audience impact ( Klein and Maccoby, 1954; Markham and Stempel, 1957; Stewart, 1943; Lewis, 1960). The reason for rating a story with its main focus on environment higher than one making a passing reference to it is obvious. And, the importance of display by either boxing an item or using visuals is also widely acknowledged by journalists and scholars.
Though the size of the headline and issue frequency are valid criteria to measure prominence, it has been found that the performance of the three different measures of space, issue frequency, and headline size are nearly identical ( Markham and Stempel, 1957:190). Considering the headline size and issue frequency with space would, therefore, be redundant, and, hence, only space is taken here as an indicator of prominence. Thus:
Placement + space = prominence
Sum of prominence for NYT, WP, & WSJ = Score/year
The prominence ratings of newspaper articles from the newspapers for each year were added to give the media prominence score per year. The media prominence and the frequency of congressional hearings have been graphed separately as seen in figures 7.1 and 7.2 respectively.