Date of Thesis

Spring 2020


This thesis undertakes an evaluation of the quality of economic news in the top three news sources in the United States– USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. More specifically, this thesis analyzes news coverage of two key contemporary economic issues: minimum wage increases and decisions by the Federal Reserve. With the use of a rubric, news articles are evaluated across six categories: economic accuracy, economic effectiveness, the number of perspectives included, accessibility, political slant and tone. Overall, economic accuracy and tone are of high quality across the three news sources for both economic news topics. Economic effectiveness is generally of high quality, but there is variation across news sources and news topics. The number of perspectives included and political slants are among the lower scoring categories, demonstrating a larger need for improvement in these areas. Lastly, accessibility is of high quality for minimum wage coverage, but of low quality for the more complex topic of the Federal Reserve. This thesis adds to the previous literature via the development of a rubric system to comprehensively measure the quality of economic news coverage. It also analyzes patterns across political slants, economic perspectives and tones within articles. This thesis celebrates areas of success, while including recommendations and sample articles to guide improvement of weaker areas. The main scope of this research is to identify areas of potential improvement in economic news writing, and to use this knowledge to guide improvement of the quality of economic news writing. In doing so, news readership can benefit by receiving an overall high-quality experience and education regarding current economic topics.


Economic Journalism, News Quality, Rubric Evaluation, Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve, Minimum Wage

Access Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Geoffrey E. Schneider