"There are highly successful businesses in the United States. There are also many highly paid executives. The policy is not to intermingle the two."

-- Philip K. Wrigley, scion of the chewing-gum family and former owner of the Chicago Cubs

You'd think it would be difficult to find anyone these days who hasn't heard about the extraordinary role of small companies as job generators. Well, the folks at MediaNomics, a newsletter published by the Media Research Center, in Alexandria, Va., found three people -- by the names of Rather, Brokaw, and Jennings. Analysts for MediaNomics took the "two lists of companies that command the most attention" in the business world, the Fortune 500 and the Inc. 500 -- and reviewed every business story on major-network evening news shows for the first six months of 1995. "While the health of several large Fortune 500 companies was covered extensively," reported the newsletter, "the well-being of smaller, growing companies was ignored. . . . Overall, the numbers are staggering. There were 97 stories or anchor-reads about the health or activities of Fortune 500 companies. There were only 13 stories about smaller, growing companies, with none of these being about companies in the Inc. 500.

"Small and growing companies," the newsletter concludes, "are usually only considered newsworthy when they are eccentric, such as a mutual fund that bases its investments on astrology, or otherwise amusing. When it comes to hard news about how economic trends and public policies will affect business, those companies which create the most jobs are overlooked by network reporters."