Longitudinal analysis of NASA public relations and New York Times newspaper articles (1963-2011)
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Using Grunig & Hunt’s models of public relations, this thesis provides a longitudinal content analysis of NASA press materials and New York Times newspaper articles from 1963 to 2011 with regards to various sampled crewed and uncrewed spaceflight missions. Additionally, semi-structured interviews with space industry practitioners, including NASA public affairs officers, journalists, and astronauts, were gathered to provide additional insight to content analysis. From the 1960s up until the 1990s, NASA used a public information model to inform journalists about key facts. After the 1990s, NASA public affairs used a mixed motives model, tailoring to their audiences and messages. While in the beginning, NASA could rely on journalists to share their narrative and instead focused on disseminating the scientific results to the press. Present-day NASA has developed strategies and tactics to support their brand narrative and acknowledge their various audiences that interact with the agency.