Term of Award

Fall 2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

James E. Green

Committee Member 1

Linda Arthur

Committee Member 2

Samuel B. Hardy, III


Previous researchers (Scott, 2005; Mobley, 2007; Oplatka, 2007; Bagin, Gallagher, & Moore, 2008) have illustrated the impact of journalists and newspapers on the public’s perception of a principal’s effectiveness. However, prior studies have focused on higher education, funding, and urban areas. Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative study was to determine the perceived best print media relations practices from the viewpoints of identified high-performing principals, print media professionals, and parents. This qualitative study employed a multi-case study design with purposive sampling. Principals from one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school who had been named to the Georgia high-performance schools list were interviewed for this study, as were focus groups of parents in the schools led by the principals and also journalists assigned to cover the principals’ schools. The audiotaped interviews were transcribed and coded for patterns in responses, from which major themes were developed. Newspaper content analysis of one calendar year’s artifacts was also conducted for each of the newspapers. Findings revealed four major themes: the responsibility of the media; the unique connection between rural newspapers, schools, and community; practices for relationship building; and impact on public opinion of schools’ effectiveness. Though participants agreed that the primary responsibility of newspapers was to disseminate information, journalists’ responses indicated a responsibility to champion educational causes, to protect the students and staff, to spur uninvolved parents to action, and to act as the conscience of school boards. In these rural communities, a close relationship built upon trust, candor, and shared experiences defined the connection between schools and newspapers. Principals fostered the affiliations by providing information for articles, making staff accessible, and removing barriers to communication.

Research Data and Supplementary Material