Newspaper Audience Research

Newspaper Audience Research-24
Inherent in this research is the assumption that journalists themselves are at the heart of decisions regarding newsworthiness (Weaver, , 2006).This assumption is directly tied to the concept of the journalist as a gatekeeper — someone who selects what to cover and how to cover it (Bennett, 2007).

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He believes that in the online environment “the news seems to be shaped by a greater and more varied group of actors” [2], and that factors outside the newsroom such as advertisers and the audience may have more influence on online newspaper journalists’ conceptions of newsworthiness.

Therefore, this study focuses on external influences on online daily and print daily newspaper journalists’ conceptions of newsworthiness.

These norms, according to Hirsch better explained the decisions made.

Such work revealed gatekeeping to be more complex than previously thought.

However, later analyses of that research found that the work of those individual gatekeepers was influenced by other levels of gatekeeping forces, such as the professional routines of journalists, as well as the policies of the news organization (Ettema and Whitney, 1987; Hirsch, 1977; Reese and Ballinger 2001).

For example, Hirsch (1977) said the reasons for the decisions made by the wire editor in White’s (1950) study were primarily based on commonly held views among the journalism profession about whether or not a story is newsworthy.Introduction Influences on newsworthiness Theoretical framework Studies of online journalists Research questions Methodology Results Discussion Limitations and conclusion Weaver and Wilhoit (1996) assert that “ Nothing in the [journalism] field is more important than decisions about what is worthy of publication or broadcast” [1], noting that much of the criticism about the news media concerns the selection of news stories.Kovach and Rosenstiel (2001) state that with the advent of the Internet, the concepts of journalists’ applying judgment as to what constitutes news is more important than ever.Early inquiries into gatekeeping theory concentrated on the decisions of a single gatekeeper.For example, David Manning White (1950) examined the decisions made by a newspaper wire editor in selecting stories to publish.Journalists, they say, no longer decide what information the public should know, but instead, help audiences make sense of it.Similarly, Singer (1998) suggests that the Internet could prompt a fundamental shift in journalist’s roles, while a report by the Project for Excellence in Journalism (2004) notes that the increasing availability of news from reliable and unreliable sources “makes the demand for the journalist as referee, watchdog and interpreter all the greater.” During the past decade, the Internet has emerged as a major source of news, with more than 50 million Americans obtaining news from the Web on a typical day (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2006).A bit less influential were factors from outside the news organization such as sources (39 percent of daily newspaper journalists rating them as very influential), audience research (29 percent), wire service budgets (27 percent), local competitors (21 percent) and large newspapers or network television news (12 percent) (Weaver, , 2006).However, Boczkowski (2004a) in his ethnographic study of the development of online newspapers, suggests that they differ from their print counterparts in editorial practices.Generally speaking, their research has found that journalistic training exerted the biggest influence on conceptions of newsworthiness, followed by editors and peers on staff.For example, 79 percent of daily newspaper journalists ranked journalistic training as being very influential, followed by staff supervisors at 60 percent, and staff peers at 40 percent (Weaver, , 2006).


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