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UW-Madison ranks 19th in New York Times mentions spanning 60 years

October 8, 2010

A new study of university news coverage in the New York Times during a 60-year period found that the University of Wisconsin–Madison ranks 19th nationally in the number of mentions in the newspaper.

Among Big Ten universities, UW–Madison ranked second in the study, behind the University of Michigan, in mentions in the Times. UW–Madison is one of five public universities in the study’s top 20.

Researchers Kalev Leetaru and Paul Magelli conducted the study, which examined 18 million documents, including the entire run of the New York Times from 1945-2005.

During that time, UW–Madison was mentioned in 6,995 articles — 495 of which appeared on the front page.

“We’re delighted to see that UW–Madison has ranked so highly,” says Amy Toburen, director of University Communications. “It is a reflection of the consistent quality of our work in the laboratory, our teaching in the classroom and our public service mission. Spreading the word about those achievements is key for a public research university.”

The study also found that:

  • In 1946, 53 percent of articles mentioning a research university were about the university, focusing on research or activities. Today, 15 percent of articles mentioning a university are about that university and the remaining 85 percent cit high-profile faculty for commentary on current events.
  • While the New York Times has shrunk in size by half, the number of news articles referring to research has remained constant.
  • Private research universities have 63 percent greater total news mentions and 57 percent greater front-page appearances than public institutions.

The study can be found at

Tags: rankings