Media and Communication Ph.D. Dissertations


Measurements of Media Reputation of Firms

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Media and Communication

First Advisor

Louisa Ha

Second Advisor

Vipa Phuntumart (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Sung-Yeon Park (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Catherine Cassara (Committee Member)

Fifth Advisor

Mingsheng Li (Committee Member)


The influence of media coverage on corporate reputation is an important research topic that attracts scholars from multiple disciplines. It was first investigated by scholars from the field of management. During the past ten years, media scholars have begun to engage in this research domain. The history of this research topic reflects its typical inter-disciplinary characteristics. Scholars have applied theories from mass communication, management, economics, and other disciplines in the exploration of this area.

Such theoretical integration is necessary for the investigation of this research topic. However, the advancement of this scholarship is also dependent on empirical studies. The major problem existing in previous studies is that they reached inconsistent findings with regard to the relationship between media coverage and corporate reputation. These inconsistent findings are the result of multiple reasons and impede the further advancement of the scholarship in this area.

One of the most important reasons is that previous studies developed different measurements of media coverage. To solve this problem, this dissertation focused on the measurements of media reputation, which was defined as the overall evaluation of media coverage of firms. Based on Agenda-Setting Theory, Priming Theory, Signaling Theory, and previous studies, this dissertation compared different measurements of media favorability applied in the previous studies, investigated the interaction effects between media visibility and media favorability, between recency and media favorability, and finally, developed a new measurement of media reputation which combines three factors: media favorability, media visibility, and recency.

Content analysis is the primary research method of this dissertation. A total of 2817 news articles from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and local newspapers were humanly coded and analyzed. The content analysis data were compared with secondary corporate reputation score of RepTrak® Pulse index, obtained from the Reputation Institute. This dissertation found that measurements of media favorability were significantly different from each other in most cases; the interaction between media visibility and media favorability, and the interaction between recency and media favorability, was significantly correlated to corporate reputation in most measurements at the overall level and for a few measurements at the dimensional level; the new measurement of media reputation — MRI — had a higher predictive power than the corresponding media favorability index in all measurements at the overall level, and in many measurements at the dimensional level. These findings suggest that MRI is a better measurement of media coverage than other measurements found in the previous studies. Furthermore, it suggests that more consistent findings will be found if this measurement is applied in future studies.