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Newspaper articles on education tend to be positive rather than negative and, in contrast to what many educators say, such articles perform "an important role in informing the public," according to one educator's study.

"Press coverage of educational is-sues by newspapers has come under attack by educators, who complain not only of the scant attention newspapers give to education but also of opinionated and inaccurate articles with an accent on 'sensationalism,"'writes Nicholas P. Criscuolo, supervisor of reading for the New Haven, Conn., public schools, in the March 2 edition of Editor and Publisher, a news industry journal.

"There is little evidence that these charges are true based on the results of this study," he asserts.

Over a two-week period in October 1983, Mr. Criscuolo examined articles in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and four Connecticut papers. Nearly 20 percent of the articles carried by the papers dealt with education, he found, and of those, 87 percent were "either positive or neutral in tone; 12 percent were negative."

Still, newspapers could improve their education coverage by visiting schools on a regular basis, reporting regularly on pta meetings, publishing interviews with local educators, and soliciting columns and public comment on important education issues, Mr. Criscuolo contends.

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