The Media’s Representation of the Knowledge Economy


  • Denise A. D. Bedford
  • Jennilyn M. Wiley


Knowledge economy, knowledge economy index, intellectual capital, media representation


The concept of the knowledge economy first came into our vocabulary more than 60 years ago when accountants and economists observed a shift in our national accounts. The study of knowledge economics is now a well‑established academic discipline, with several peer‑reviewed journals. This paper begins to explore how the knowledge economy is understood outside of academia. This exploratory research investigates how the concept is represented in the print media around the world. The research reviews 771 print media stories focused on the knowledge economy found in LexisNexis. A linguistic register is created to understand the language of the media stories. Each story is analyzed with two semantic profiles – one representing the World Bank’s characterization of the knowledge economy and one focused on the nature of intellectual capital. The results suggest that the print media has a suboptimal understanding of the knowledge economy. The research team further examined the representation of the knowledge economy within the discourse of primary sources (e.g., economic think tanks, knowledge economists, labor and trade unions, professional associations), and the representation of knowledge economists in the media. The research suggests there is a need for increasing the public discourse around the knowledge economy, in particular through media sources and among primary source institutions.



1 Nov 2017



General Paper