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The Transparent gate

University of Florida Institutional Repository

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THE TRANSPARENT GATE: ONLINE AND PRINT EDITIONS AT TWO CENTRAL FLORIDA NEWSPAPERS By MATTHEW D. BLAKE A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2003

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank several individuals who provided support and guidance throughout the writing of this study. First, I would like to thank Mindy McAdams, who served as the chairperson of my thesis committee and offered her expertise concerning online journalism. I would also like to thank committee members Dave Carlson and Dr. John Sutherland for their valuable input. I am also indebted to my parents, Philip and Katherine Blake, and brothers, Edward and Daniel Blake, who provided loving support during the creation of this study. My lifelong friend, Timothy Slack, provided much needed guidance throughout the graduate school experience. ii

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ..................................................................................................ii LIST OF TABLES ...............................................................................................................v LIST OF FIGURES ...........................................................................................................vi ABSTRACT ......................................................................................................................vii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ......................................................................................................1 Overview ....................................................................................................................1 Gatekeeping and the Internet Newspaper ...................................................................3 Research Purpose .......................................................................................................4 Thesis Outline ............................................................................................................5 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ...........................................................................................7 Overview ....................................................................................................................7 Gatekeeping in Mass Communication .......................................................................7 Gatekeeping and Social Reality .................................................................................9 Electronic Newspaper Gatekeeping .........................................................................10 The Electronic Newsroom ........................................................................................14 Justification for Study ..............................................................................................17 Research Questions ..................................................................................................19 3 METHODOLOGY ...................................................................................................21 Overview ..................................................................................................................21 Content Analysis Description ...................................................................................21 Study Sample .........................................................................................................22 Study Sample: Print Edition .....................................................................................23 Study Sample: Online Edition ..................................................................................24 Sampling Procedure .................................................................................................26 Data Analysis ....................................................................................................... 30 iii

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4 RESULTS .................................................................................................................32 Localization of Editions ...........................................................................................33 Reliance on Non-Staff Content ................................................................................35 Use of Photographs and Artwork .............................................................................38 Headline Relationship ..............................................................................................40 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION ......................................................................42 Discussion of Results ...............................................................................................42 Implications of Study ...............................................................................................45 Limitations of Study .................................................................................................47 Suggestions for Further Research ............................................................................48 Conclusion ................................................................................................................49 APPENDIX SAMPLE CODING SHEET .......................................................................51 LIST OF REFERENCES ...................................................................................................55 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............................................................................................59 iv

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LIST OF TABLES Table page 4.1 Print and online story count by market ...................................................................33 4.2 Geographic location of story by market and edition ...............................................34 4.3 Article source by market and edition ......................................................................37 4.4 Graphic source by edition and market .....................................................................38 4.5 Type of graphic by newspaper edition and market .................................................40 4.6 Online Edition Headlines ........................................................................................40 v

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2.1 Whites version of gatekeeping (based on Shoemaker, 1991, p. 10) ........................9 2.2 Inter-edition newspaper gatekeeping ......................................................................19 vi

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Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication THE TRANSPARENT GATE: ONLINE AND PRINT EDITIONS AT TWO CENTRAL FLORIDA NEWSPAPERS By Matthew D. Blake December 2003 Chair: Mindy McAdams Major Department: Journalism and Communications This thesis examines the relationship between the content in the print and Internet editions of two central Florida newspapers, the Ocala Star-Banner and the Orlando Sentinel. These two newspapers represent separate classes of circulation size and corporate ownership while sharing circulation areas and local and state news stories. This study is aimed at contributing to the base of knowledge concerning the role of the online newspaper and its relationship to its print counterpart. The researcher sought to determine the similarity in content in the two editions by examining several variables. These included the localization of written content, source of written and graphical content, type of graphical content made available and the article headline text. These variables were examined using a quantitative content analysis. This study found dissimilarities between the two editions. The Internet edition offered a greater scope of state and local content, while the print edition provided more national and global content. This study also found that articles in the print editions were vii

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more likely to include a photograph than articles in the online editions and headlines were nearly always replicated verbatim from the print to the online edition. The study concluded that the focus of the online edition at the two newspapers is more localized than the print edition and its articles seldom offer supplementary content. viii

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Overview If one begins with the reinterpretation of Platos simile of the cave contained in Public Opinion (Lippmann, 1922), the conveyance of information from the mass media to its audience has been studied for nearly a century. Since Lippmanns idea of the medias creation of a picture in our heads, many theories have been initiated and multiple innovations have assisted in the study of mass communication. Among communication innovations, the Internet encompasses a unique audience and vast amount of information. While television and print communications offer information from an organization to the public, the Internet provides interactive communication to a global audience. Like communication devices before it, the Internet has inspired scholarly literature that searches to understand its use, its messages, and its effects on society. Among journalists, the Internet presents a potential quandary and an opportunity. While reaching a wider audience and providing advanced technology for transmission of information, the newspaper Web site often channels information without demand for the financial compensation that makes it a viable business and its information a valuable commodity. Newspaper editors are faced with an industry-wide question of how to present information on the Internet without compromising the traditional pay-for-access format (Bolt, 2002; Geyskens, Gielens, & Dekimpe, 2002; Outing, 2002a, 2002b; Hall, 2001). This question has been answered in various manners. Some newspaper Internet 1

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2 editions require payment for access to content, most notably The Wall Street Journal, where in 1999, 50,000 users paid $59 annually for online access (Hall, 2001). Beyond requiring payment for content, other newspapers offer different levels of access to information: Some require registration for Internet content; some continue to offer online content for free while charging for archived content; some offer entire current-day and archived Internet content free while requiring payment for only the print edition. This inconsistency tells of an evolving and developing model of media practice. The costs of acquiring information online are often borne in the purchasing of a computer and an Internet connection (Hall, 2001), not in direct payment to the information provider. This shift in consumer costs has resulted in the newspapers reevaluation of how to present its information, at what costs, and on what medium. The print edition is traditionally profitable because of its advertising revenue, which allows a newspapers financial viability (Bagdikian, 2000). A newspapers print audience is what maintains the print advertising revenue. The Internet edition has proved to be less profitable in many cases it actually runs at a deficit. However, more than 3,000 U. S. daily newspapers have Internet editions that run information similar to what is found in the print edition (Palser, 2002). Past studies have shown different graphics, stories, interactive features in each edition (Dibean, 1999; Gubman & Greer, 1997; Li, 2002; Singer, 2001a, 2001b). Exposure to each edition offers different exposure to what is considered newsworthy. The different information traveling through each model of transmission illustrates the concept of media gatekeeping: Who gets what information.

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3 Gatekeeping and the Internet Newspaper Gatekeeping as constructed by Lewin (1947b) is composed of channels that proceed in definite steps (p. 144). Lewin uses the distribution and consumption of food to describe this process. Channels to obtain food include the purchase at the grocery market or growing vegetables in a garden. After obtaining the food, the next step in the gatekeeping process is another channel option, to store or consume the food. The progression of channels can continue to the preparation and consumption of the food. Once material passes through a channel its properties are altered to reflect its modification. Lewins example is the status of food after purchase: Having invested a substantial sum of money in the food, she [provider] will be especially insistent that the food safely reach the table and be eaten (p. 145). This is an example of the gate, which is a section in the channel that dictates whether the good passes through the channel based on its properties prior to entering the channel. The gate or gate sections are governed by impartial rules or by gate keepers (Lewin, 1947b). The gatekeeper in this example is the person who either buys or produces the food. Impartial rules, according to Lewin, can include economic and social factors. Lewin only briefly mentions gatekeepings application to the study of communications, but the widespread acceptance of Internet editions by newspapers to complement print editions provides a unique opportunity to study communications gatekeeping function between editions. Lewins food consumption model can be replicated by substituting the material (instead of food, written and graphical content), the gatekeeper (instead of the purchaser or provider of food, the newspaper editor), and the

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4 gate (instead of the purchase of food, the transfer of information to the Internet or newspaper from the newsroom). In this revision of Lewins gatekeeping model, the news content both written and graphical is present in the newsroom from multiple sources: First, the newspaper staff; second, the wire service or syndicate; third, freelance writers; and fourth, the readers of the newspaper in letters to the editor. This information is judged by the gatekeeper (editor) and is either passed through the Internet channel and transferred to the newspapers online edition or not passed through the channel to be placed online. Using this model, the researcher intends to examine the content that is present in the print and online editions of two newspapers. Research Purpose Applying the idea of media gatekeeping to the Internet newspaper is not a new concept, however, current research is limited. Further evaluation is required, if for no other reason than the constantly changing nature of Internet news content and presentation (McMillan, 2000). This study intends to demonstrate the news content differences, in amount and display, in the print and online editions of the daily newspaper. Both the print and online newspaper serve as gatekeeping channels through which news and information travel to its audience; these channels stream different amounts and types of information to each respective audience (Singer, 2001b; Gubman & Greer, 1997; Schafer, 2002). By examining the print and online editions of selected newspapers, the author hopes to demonstrate the different pictures in our heads that each format presents. This study will look at the news content of the print and online editions of two central Florida newspapers and compare the results. Examining the content in the print edition and

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5 comparing it to the online content allows comparison of what stories are redistributed online and how articles appear online compared to the print appearance. By displaying the variance in content, the author will demonstrate the contrasting perspective delivered to the readers of a publications online and its print edition. Thesis Outline The following chapter investigates the fundamentals of the gatekeeping process in mass communication. The author reviews the seminal studies before narrowing the focus to electronic and Internet gatekeeping. There are two established manners of investigating newspapers Internet presence: First, by looking at the content and format of newspapers Internet presence, and second, by researching the wired newsroom and the process of channeling information from the print to the online edition. For the sake of brevity, the latter will be reviewed but not analyzed; the focus of this study is the articles presented in each edition (print or online). Chapter 2 will close with the studys research questions. In Chapter 3, the researcher will present a quantitative content analysis model used to collect data for this study. This study employed a composite week model that investigated several variables. Chapter 3 will also discuss the sample used in the study, the units of analysis, and the general methodology. Chapter 4 will look at the findings of the quantitative content analysis of the print and online editions of the newspapers. The findings will establish the dissimilarity between the two editions of the selected newspapers in several categories. Differences in content can be found in the geographic emphasis of the stories presented in each edition, the source of the written and graphical content in each edition, the type of graphical

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6 content used online and in print, and the phrasing of the headlines among identical stories. Chapter 5 will discuss the studys findings and discuss the implications and weaknesses of the conducted research. Chapter 5 will also conclude the study with a general conclusion of this studys significance.

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CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Overview The adoption of new technologies by established media demands reevaluation of the production and presentation of information to its audience. When a newspaper establishes an Internet presence, the effects are significant in personnel, financial distribution, and most notably, the diversity of channels on which to transmit the information that allows the organization continued viability. Media gatekeeping theory is effective when evaluating the dissimilarity between content produced by traditional, established print media and Internet-based media. This chapter begins with a review of relevant academic research and literature, followed by research questions. Gatekeeping in Mass Communication As noted in chapter 1, the concept of a gate keeper was introduced by social psychologist Kurt Lewin, who in 1947 coined the term while studying food consumption habits. The gatekeeper in Lewins study was the person who decided what food appeared on a familys dinner table. In the process leading to the appearance of food on the dinner table, the food passed through several channels or gate sections. Lewin briefly related this process to the news selection process, which he noted must be governed by a gatekeeper or impartial rules. Lewins seminal study was followed by Whites introduction of Mr. Gates (1950), the wire editor who functioned as the at a medium-sized Midwestern newspaper. Mr. 7

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8 Gates served as the gate for the news that would appear on the front and jump pages of the newspaper, and his decision was final. For this reason, White considered Mr. Gates decision-making to be the most important of the various gates of news selection that each story passed through. Whites study has since met criticism, however, for limiting its analysis to a single wire editor (Bass, 1969), and for not addressing the personal factors that influenced Mr. Gates decision-making processes (Gieber, 1960). Since Lewins and Whites initial studies, researchers have investigated other channels in the process of media gatekeeping. Gieber (1960) sought to analyze the gatekeeping function of newspapers by reviewing the judgments and perceptions of some of the persons involved in the transmission of news to the community (p. 199). He concluded that the reporter must judge whether the information is sufficiently important (p. 200) to the audience while considering its newsworthiness. McQuail and Windahl (1981) expanded on this approach by creating a hypothetical model that demonstrated the transference of messages from the news source (N) to the media gatekeeper, who selects messages deemed suitable for the audience (M). Beyond the organization that delivers the information, the process of gatekeeping can be narrowed to the individual consumer of information. Shoemaker (1991) defined this perspective as a process by which billions of messages that are available in the world get cut down and transformed into the hundreds of messages that reach a given person on a given day. This interpretation holds certain validity among contemporary media consumers, who are offered far more choices of communication channels than those of previous decades.

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9 Figure 2.1: Whites version of gatekeeping (based on Shoemaker, 1991, p. 10) Gatekeeping and Social Reality While contemporary media users have more sources of news and information than in the past, one effect of receiving that information remains unchanged: the construction of social reality from the information provided by news sources. When information is judged newsworthy by editors and passed through the gate to the public, it influences the public perception of what is considered important (Shoemaker, 1991). This can be achieved in mass media beyond journalism. Advertising can influence consumer behavior by portraying a product as necessary or beneficial; government announcements can inform the public of an array of information, from weather alerts to crime trends; editorials can influence the public by making judgment on an issue with supporting facts. But news is the language in which most other claims to attention circulate (Schudson, 2003), because it can strengthen public knowledge through unbiased reporting of facts

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10 and circumstances without the appearance of conflict of interest between the source of the information and the facts presented. This distinction between journalism and other mass media gives news a unique position in a democratic culture. Journalists are expected to perform watchdog duties on public and private institutions that would otherwise remain unchecked. Because journalism offers theoretically unbiased information, it gains greater respect among the public. Schudson (2003) calls this moral amplification: A news story is an announcement of a special kind. . It announces to audiences that a topic deserves public attention. The responsibility of the journalistic gatekeeper is to keep the public informed. The process of journalistic gatekeeping goes beyond than the model of general consumption presented by Lewin (1947). Shoemaker (1991) provides an example of gatekeeping on the individual: The process of gatekeeping is the process of creating social reality: If an event is rejected by the media I use, it probably will not become part of the social reality I perceive. If the event is accepted and displayed prominently, then it may not only become part of my version of social reality but it may strongly influence my view of the world. (p. 27) Because the public perception of issues is framed generally by news organizations and specifically by gatekeepers, the news culture of the Internet that offers immediate news and information, presents new responsibilities for journalists and the public. Electronic Newspaper Gatekeeping The introduction of recent computer technologies into the newsroom was first examined by Garrison (1980), who studied the adoption of the word processor and its effect on the gatekeeping process. Garrison found that despite new technologies, slot editors relied on printed hard copy (paper) for the delivery to copy editors, who edited

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11 hard copy content on word processors to create a soft copy (electronic) before sending the story to production. The study concluded that while the technologys effect on the newspapers gatekeeping function was minimal, the computer eased editing while facilitating the copy flow from reporter to production. The use of photographs transmitted via the Associated Press wire was studied in a gatekeeping study by Wanta and Roark (1992/1993). The researchers found that photographic gatekeeping decisions depended largely upon the newspapers tradition, national trends, newspaper market size, and which news events provided a wide variety of images. The introduction of the Internet has provided a new perspective on the gatekeeping process. It would seem the process of gatekeeping is rendered obsolete with the Internet, a medium that allows consumers to organize personal interests without the traditional gatekeepers to channel information. But the few studies that have explored online gatekeeping suggest the role of the gatekeeper is not disappearing but evolving. This revision of the gatekeeping process has placed nontraditional media representatives as gatekeepers, including discussion list owners (Allen, 1994); online newspaper editors (Singer, 2001); and Webmasters (Beard & Olsen, 1999). One manifestation of the gatekeeper is the Webmaster, who Beard and Olsen (1999) argue fulfills characteristics of the mass media gatekeeper. The Webmaster, like the newspaper editor, makes decisions regarding the selection and presentation of messages. Like other traditional media gatekeepers, the researchers found that the Webmasters skills and experiences influence content and selection of information when performing the gatekeeping role (Beard & Olsen, 1999). Internet editors at smaller and

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12 medium-sized newspapers are often expected to perform multiple duties, while larger newspapers allow one employee to assume the role of Webmaster (Singer, Tharp and Haruta, 1999). Among journalists, the online gatekeeper plays a unique role. Unlike reporters or traditional editors, online staffers are often understood to be content providers who understand the technology necessary for putting the information on the Web (Lasica, 1997). The content that is replicated from the print to the online edition is often referred to as shovelware, or content that was created for the print product and has simply been shoveled on the Web (Singer, 2001a). Many critics (Katz, 1994; Regan, 1995; Lasica, 1996) begrudge shovelware as lacking original content in a fresh medium and not fully utilizing the technology available to online. This criticism has been investigated repeatedly to mixed results over the past decade. Gubman and Greer (1997) found inconsistencies among sites after analyzing 83 online newspapers of all circulation categories for content, structure and interactivity. The researchers found that electronic newspapers offered content that was mainly reproduced exactly from the print edition. There was no localization of national stories and few changes in the linear storytelling format adapted from the print edition. The researchers also found few sites using multimedia or interactive tools to assist in storytelling. Gubman and Greer concluded that much of the criticism of online journalism was well founded. Singer (2001a) looked at six Colorado newspapers online editions and examined the content for geography (local versus non-local), Web-only content, and artwork. The study found very little original content on the online editions. Of 2,455 total stories

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13 analyzed, only 158 were Internet-exclusive, and 2,173 ran only in the print edition, suggesting that shovelware continued to be prevalent at these papers. In the Web sites studied, more space was devoted to metro and local news, proportionately, than to the content offered in the print edition. Another characteristic of the online edition, according to Singer, was the lack of appealing graphics. Singer noted that despite the Webs multimedia capabilities, many online papers are less visually enticing than their print counterparts, at least in terms of information-conveying graphics (p. 76). Singers analysis seems to agree with Gubman and Greers and that of other critics too much shovelware, little original content, few multimedia applications. Singer (2001b) examined the online coverage of the 2000 local and national elections by surveying editors at the largest newspaper in each of the 50 states and all American newspapers included in the Newspaper Association of Americas largest circulation category (250,000 and greater). Realizing the Internet offers means of enhancing political discourse as a two-way, interactive medium with tools such as polls, e-mail, discussion forums and information-retrieval tools, Singer sought to measure the difference in Internet utilization between the 1996 and 2000 elections. In the four years separating the elections, the study found more original content (78.9% of the analyzed sites offered Web-only election coverage), increased traffic to Web sites, and extensive interactive features including ballot guides, detailed candidate profiles, precinct finders, and archived poll results. The online newspapers also offered frequent updates that permitted competition with television as the medium of choice (Singer, 2001). These capabilities drew a greater audience to Internet news sites during Election 2000, when nearly 20% of Americans reported getting campaign news online, according to the Pew

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14 Research Center for the People and the Press (Schafer, 2001). Such statistics suggest that the Internet is becoming a viable political news source and gatekeeping is indeed moving beyond simple shovelware. Arant and Anderson (2000) performed perhaps the most extensive survey of newspaper editors regarding online media ethics in the contemporary environment. Despite not focusing on Internet newspaper gatekeeping, the survey offers insights into the amount of original content relative to shovelware at newspapers of various sizes. With over 200 responses, the researchers built upon Singers foundations and reestablished that Internet newspapers are moving beyond repurposed content. Among the wide-ranging sample (from less than 15,000-circulation to more than 200,000-circulation newspapers), Arant and Anderson found only 20% offering no unique content on the Internet. Additionally, 31% offered Internet-only content and 53% presented Internet-only sections and features. The survey also provided insight into what is added when a story goes online: 60% of editors said they added hypertext links; 30% changed artwork and photos, and 23% changed the structure of the story (Arant and Anderson, 2000). Electronic gatekeeping has been examined from the inception of wired content and the introduction of the word processor to the current circumstances of the global audience and interactive mass media. Beyond specific gatekeeping studies, the researcher must examine the electronic newsroom, where important gatekeeping and editorial decisions are made. The Electronic Newsroom The Internet offers the media professional new means of both collecting and transmitting information. While researchers such as Garrison have written extensively on

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15 reporters use of the Internet for reporting, the purpose of this study is not to examine reporters use of information; therefore, media professionals use of the Internet for research will be ignored here. The focus of this section is the environment at Internet newsrooms how many employees, what tasks are employed, the general relationship between the online and print newsroom and the disparities between large and small newspapers. These variables allow for inconsistencies in online newspapers content and appearance, which is the focus of this study. How to staff an online edition of a newspaper continues to be explored differently at various institutions. For example, the New York Times houses its online staff in a different building than the print staff, while The Wall Street Journal reconfigured its newsroom to accommodate both staffs (Singer et al., 1999). Even among newspapers with the same ownership, approaches differ. The Boston Globe and the New York Times are both owned by the New York Times Company, yet take varied approaches at their Internet identities. While the Times emphasizes similarity to its print edition, the Globes Web site, Boston.com, serves as a city guide as well as a media outlet. There is perhaps no greater indication of technological and human resources than the circulation of the newspaper and its operating budget. Garrison (1998) examined technological discrepancies among newspapers of various circulation categories and found that large newspapers (newspapers with a circulation greater than 50,000) hold several advantages over smaller newspapers. Garrison (1998) found that large newspapers: Have more individuals involved in computer-assisted reporting than small newspapers.

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16 Are more likely to provide computer training than small newspapers. Subscribe to expensive (p. 5) online databases (Lexis-Nexis, Database Technologies Autotrack Plus, Dow Jones) more often than small newspapers. Devote a greater amount of financial support to online services. While conceding the common sense (p. 6) findings of the study, Garrison did show that large newspapers are able to grant more resources to Internet editions and computer-assisted reporting than counterparts at smaller newspapers. During the time of the survey (January through March 1997), more than 76% of larger newspapers, and fewer than 60% of the smaller newspapers, had Internet editions (Garrison, 1998). Singer et al (1999) investigated the responsibilities, attitudes and salaries of online and print staffers and editors in her 1998 survey that looked at online and print newsrooms. Like Garrison, Singer found that larger papers were likely to offer resources, especially in terms of online edition employees, where smaller newspapers were more likely to have crossover staff (employees performing tasks at two departments) from the print to the online newsroom. The study also showed copy editors to be the most likely to do double duty in the online and print newsrooms. Financially, print employees fared better than online employees, and the sizes of online staffs were smaller than those of print newsrooms (Singer et al, 1999). These disadvantages in the online newsroom affected attitudes in both the print and online newsrooms, as evidenced in open-ended responses to the survey. Several print managers described their job as harder because of firm deadlines and space restrictions. Online managers said some of the problems they face include finding qualified applicants for technological positions and the difficulty of

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17 producing a profitable product. Online managers also complained about a lack of respect from their print colleagues (Singer et al, 1999). Justification for Study The process of gatekeeping determines what information is provided to the public from traditional journalistic organizations. Prior to the implementation of the online edition at daily newspapers, only one channel from the print journalist to the public existed to measure the gatekeeping process. With more than 1,200 daily newspapers offering an Internet edition (Singer, 2001b), there are now two channels that can be compared and analyzed. The collective criticism of newspapers Internet edition is the repurposing of content, or shoveling, from the print edition. The introduction of computer technologies to the newsroom alters the editors ability to dictate what information is provided to the public to shape readers social reality of what is newsworthy. If print edition content is shoveled to the Internet edition, the process of discriminating between content passed through this channel is eliminated. This holds important societal consequences in a democracy that allows citizens to influence public policy. If the online edition replicates print edition content, it follows that the information provided to the audience is not unique to either newspaper edition. Past studies (Singer, 2001a; Li, 2002; Gubman & Greer, 1997) have demonstrated that online editions are not precisely replicated from the print edition and usually include a greater proportion of local stories compared to national and global articles. These findings demonstrate the online newspaper reader perceives a more localized reality of what is newsworthy compared to the reader of the print edition.

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18 The process of taking content from one edition and channeling it to another format is an example of gatekeeping. The gatekeepers are the editors who decide what print content is to be repurposed in the Internet edition. How the two editions differ determines the extent of distinct information provided to the each audience. Three manners in which the editions can differ are the written and graphical source of the article, the geographic emphasis of the article and the supplementary interactive features in the online article. This will be the focus of the current study. This study will apply past models to the gatekeeping process linking the print and Internet editions at two daily newspapers. By examining the print content and comparing it to the Internet edition content, the researcher hopes to find what content is repurposed in the Internet edition. Figure 2.2 illustrates the process that will be measured. The original newspaper print edition content will be analyzed and the results will be used to find what content was transferred to the Internet edition. This will be measured by

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19 geographic emphasis and the source of written and graphical content. Figure 2.2: Inter-edition newspaper gatekeeping This study will demonstrate the different information provided to the audiences of both the print and Internet newspaper edition. Research Questions The process of media gatekeeping in both printand online-edition newspapers has been investigated. Singer (2001) offers a validated design for examining the discrepancies between print and online editions of newspapers. This includes the representation of the Newspaper Association of Americas (NAA) circulation categories and the use of a constructed week to measure variables. Using established methods of comparing online and print content, this study will ask the following:

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20 RQ1: Is there a relationship between geographical location of content and edition of the newspaper (print versus online)? Is this relationship affected by market (metropolitan versus rural)? RQ2: Is there a relationship between use of staff and non-staff content and edition of the newspaper (print versus online?) Is this relationship affected by market (metropolitan versus rural)? RQ3: Is there a relationship between graphical content and edition of the newspaper (print versus online?) Is this relationship affected by market (metropolitan versus rural)? RQ4: Is there a relationship between headline content and edition of the newspaper (print versus online)? Is this relationship affected by market (metropolitan versus rural)?

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CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Overview To examine the mass media gatekeeping process, researchers rely upon different methodologies, including the case study, the survey, the in-depth interview and the content analysis. While each offers advantages, content analysis allows the researcher to unobtrusively compare the exact content that passes through the gates or channels in the process. This becomes especially relevant when comparing the content of a newspapers online and print edition because often the stories are repurposed shovelware and lack overall creativity on the online edition (Katz, 1994; Regan, 1995; Gubman & Greer, 1997; Singer, 2001b). Print and online editions have been compared and researched during the past decade, but due to the Internets continual adaptation of new technologies and continuous changes in content (McMillan, 2000) past findings must be reevaluated to measure current validity. This chapter will begin with definitions and functions of content analysis, followed by a detailed explanation of the researchers selection criteria for newspapers, time frame, and stories. After listing the coding categories, the conceptual and operational definitions of key terms stated in the research questions will be provided. Content Analysis Description Berelson offered the most commonly used definition of content analysis: Content analysis is a research technique for the objective, systematic and quantitative description of the manifest content of communication (1952, p. 18). Krippendorff (1980) explains 21

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22 content analysis as a research technique for making replicable and valid inferences from data to their context (p. 21). Content analysis is by nature an unobtrusive technique that prevents errors being included in the data due to the subjects knowledge of the study. Potential subject factors that could invalidate a study include: Awareness, influences, stereotypes, and experimenter-interviewer interaction (Krippendorff, 1980). Inferences from content analysis involve the sender and receiver of the message, the communication channel and the message itself. Study Sample To compare online and print content of newspapers, one must examine articles in both formats. Two newspapers were selected and both formats were examined for six variables. The units of analysis for this study were the individual articles in both the print and the online format. Considering each format for a single story allowed for individual analysis of a single story in two formats. To ensure validity beyond a single week, the researcher employed the constructed week format of sampling. To construct a composite week, the researcher randomly selected a Sunday from the sample period, followed by random selections of a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. This eliminates the possibility of overrepresentation of certain editions of the week, such as the larger Sunday paper. Using a composite week also allows greater generalization over time (Riffe, Aust, and Lacy, 1993). Both online and print editions of each newspaper were content analyzed during each day of the composite week period. In this study, the composite week was constructed during four weeks beginning Saturday, February 1, 2003, and ending Saturday, March 1, 2003. During the seven selected dates, the researcher conducted all coding for the print and Internet newspaper content.

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23 This content analysis includes two central Florida newspapers, the Orlando Sentinel and the Ocala Star-Banner. These newspapers offer contrasting ownership and circulation. Both, however, share overlapping circulation areas, and subsequently distribute similar local and state news stories and coverage. The Orlando Sentinel has a circulation of 254,956 (Editor & Publisher Yearbook, 2002) and is owned by the Tribune Company, the second largest newspaper publisher in the United States (behind Gannett). The Tribune Company owns 12 newspapers including The Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and Newsday (Hoovers Company Profile Database, 2003). The Ocala Star-Banner has a circulation of 52,041 (Editor and Publisher, 2002) and is owned by the New York Times Company. The New York Times Company includes the New York Times newspaper, Boston Globe, the international Herald-Tribune, 18 smaller dailies (including the Star-Banner) and three weeklies (Hoovers Inc, 2003). The contrast in circulation size is relevant because it has been demonstrated that large newspapers offer greater resources for online productions than smaller newspapers (Singer et al, 1999; Garrison, 1998). Ownership of the newspapers is relevant because different corporate ownership indicates unique management philosophies in relation to online and print publications. Study Sample: Print Edition The first articles to be selected and evaluated were those that appeared in the current-day print edition of the two newspapers. For both newspapers, the front section and local or state section were evaluated. In the Star-Banner, the local section is named Marion, the name of the county of publication; in the Sentinel, the local section is

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24 named Local & State. Other newspaper sections (sports, arts, entertainment, lifestyle, business, travel, general feature sections, weather and advertising sections) were ignored. Also withheld from examination were In Brief stories or updates because these articles lacked image content and standard headlines. Determining what was an In Brief story varied among the two newspapers. The Orlando Sentinel notated these stories with a label reading In Brief and several one-paragraph stories. The Star-Banner labeled these articles under a general subject heading (for example, Nation or World) and included multiple paragraphs. Other than the briefs and updates, each current-day news story was coded in the two selected sections. Study Sample: Online Edition After coding stories from each newspapers front and local sections, the researcher examined the content of the same stories that appeared in the online edition. The Internet content was examined on the same date as the print publications release. The method of finding the stories within the Internet edition included numerous techniques. First, the researcher used the search function located on the home page of each newspapers online edition. Inside the search form, the researcher initially entered the first four words of the articles print headline. For example, if the print headline read, Trauma centers warn lives could be at risk, the researcher entered Trauma centers warn lives into the search form to examine results. If the search results yielded stories included an identical headline or a subject matter related to the print edition article, the researcher determined whether the story was identical to the print edition by examining its first sentence and written content. If the initial search failed to produce any results, the researcher then entered the entire headline into the search form. The final step using the search function to find the story in the

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25 online edition was to enter the articles reporter or author name, which resulted in a display of the recent stories by the reporter or author. The search function was the most commonly used method of finding online stories because it most often yielded articles offered in the print edition. If every search attempt failed to produce the story or a closely related article, the researcher then manually searched the hypertext headlines appearing on the newspaper home page and individual section home pages. This method differed for each newspaper due to the each sites architecture. The Orlando Sentinel offers five hypertext headlines on the top of the home page (http://www.orlandosentinel.com/) and lists 20 additional hypertext headlines at the bottom of the homepage under the label More Headlines. Searching these headlines for stories found in the print edition was the first step in manual search process. Next, the researcher entered the News home page (http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/) and evaluated its hypertext headlines for stories found in the print edition. Besides evaluating headlines on the News home page, the researcher investigated subsections contained in the News home page navigation bar. This included examining the hypertext headlines contained in the Regional section home page (http://www.orlandosentinel/news/ local/regional/), the State section home page (http://www.orlandosentinel/news /local/regional/) and the Nation/World section homepage (http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/nationworld/). The Ocala Star-Banner online contains a more basic site structure than the Sentinel and thus required less intensive inquiry to find print stories that were not found with the search function. The home page (http://www.starbanner.com/) offered three featured

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26 headlines with the beginning of the articles and 10 hypertext headlines under the label AP Top Stories which are updated periodically. These hypertext headlines were searched first. The researcher then examined the News section (http://www.starbanner.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=NEWS), which offered hypertext headlines for local, state, national and global news. Only after these steps failed to produce an online version of the print story would the researcher concede that it was not included in the Internet edition of the newspaper. The researcher did not count Internet-exclusive stories for two reasons. First, as McMillian (2000) pointed out, the Internet is a constantly changing medium, one which does not rely on static dates or times to produce stories or editions. There is also no established time frame for which online stories remain posted in the online edition. Without means of ensuring consistency among articles, the researcher could not promise replicable results when finding Internet-exclusive articles. The second reason is the process of gatekeeping, which evaluates the properties of goods before and after passing through a channel or gate region. The channel in this study separates the print edition story from the online story. The story appearing only in the Internet edition never passed through this channel and therefore offers no comparable counterpart appearing in the print edition. For these reasons, the researcher used a one-way model of finding stories appearing in both editions. Sampling Procedure During this composite week, both the print and online editions of the selected newspapers will be analyzed. Every current-day news story will be coded; sports, arts,

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27 entertainment, lifestyle, business, travel, general feature sections, weather and advertising sections will be ignored. Artwork that accompanies selected news stories will be counted as well. The following will be coded: The newspaper where the story appeared. This consisted of two values with two possible entries. 1. Sentinel 2. Star-Banner The edition where the story appeared. This consisted of two values with two possible entries. 1. Print 2. Internet The date of the article, expressed in month, day and year of publication. Also recorded was the day of the week. Where xx=month, yy=day, zzzz=year, xx/yy/zzzz The type of image(s) that accompanied the story. The following values were recorded: 1. Photograph 2. Cartoon 3. Infographic

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28 4. Composite Image 5. Photograph and Infographic 6. Photograph and Composite Image 7. None 8. Photograph, Composite Image and Infographic 9. Infographic and Composite Image The source of the image(s) that accompanied the story. The following values were recorded entries with multiple sources indicate multiple images and sources. When an article contained two or more images, the researcher coded the source for each and the results required multiple categories for image source. 1. Staff 2. Wire Service or Syndicate 3. Contributor 4. Another Newspaper 5. Staff and Wire Service/Syndicate 6. Government (Police photos, NASA, etc.) 7. None 8. Staff and Contributor 9. Staff and Government The geographic emphasis of the story. This was divided into five categories: metro (about something inside the county in which the newspaper is located); state (inside Florida but outside the newspapers home county); national (a national story, outside of Florida); international (any story outside the United States). Some stories could ultimately be coded in multiple categories; for example, the Elian Gonzalez saga in 1999 was simultaneously an international, national and state story. In a case

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29 of multiple locales, the story will be coded for each of the locations. The following values were recorded entries with multiple sources indicate multiple images and sources. 1. Global 2. National 3. State 4. Metro 5. Metro and State 6. Metro, State and National 7. State and National 8. National and Global 9. Metro and Global 10. Metro, National and Global 11. Metro, State, National and Global The source of the articles written content, or the writers or reporters affliation. The following values were recorded. 1. Staff 2. Wire Service/Syndicate 3. Contributor 4. Another Newspaper 5. None

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30 The headline that accompanied the article. The print headline was first recorded verbatim and then compared to the headline presented on the Internet edition (if applicable). This required three values. 1. Print headline 2. Online headline same 3. Online headline different Six categories were created for online-only content which could not appear in print format. These included video, audio, poll, interactive graphic, E-mail story option and photo gallery. Each of these were recorded separately in the following format. 1. None 2. Present Data Analysis Utilizing the widely used statistical software program, Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), the researcher employed chi-square tests to measure levels of statistical significance. Chi-square tests are used to describe relationships between variables by using a null hypothesis (Babbie, 2001). The null hypothesis is defined by Babbie (2001) as the assumption that there is no relationship between two variables in the total population. By accounting for the null hypothesis, the chi-square test reveals the likelihood that the relationship between variables is real. The calculation of chi-square is based on the comparison between expected and obtained frequencies and is used to determine the

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31 probability that the discovered discrepancy could have resulted from sampling error alone (Babbie, p. 487). Tests of significance are commonly followed by an expressed level of significance. The level of significance is the probability that the association between variables could have been produced by sampling error, as opposed to what are considered genuine scientific relationships. For example, a significance level of .05 denotes that an association as large as the observed one could not be expected to result from sampling error more than 5 times out of 100 (Babbie, p. 492). The significance level used in this study is less than .05 and permits the researcher to discard the null hypothesis at the 95% level.

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CHAPTER 4 RESULTS This study sought to compare content of articles appearing in the online and print edition of two newspapers in unique communities by asking the following research questions: Is there a relationship between geographical location of content and edition of the newspaper (print versus online)? Is this relationship affected by market (metropolitan versus rural)? Is there a relationship between use of staff and non-staff content and edition of the newspaper (print versus online?) Is this relationship affected by market (metropolitan versus rural)? Is there a relationship between graphical content and edition of the newspaper (print versus online?) Is this relationship affected by market (metropolitan versus rural)? Is there a relationship between headline content and edition of the newspaper (print versus online)? Is this relationship affected by market (metropolitan versus rural)? When examining these questions, the researcher examined the content of articles in two sections, front and local, of newspapers varying in circulation volume and corporate ownership. The researcher then searched for the articles in the online edition of each newspaper. During the composite week of examination, the final story count for both editions of both newspapers was 743. The print story count was 418 full-length articles. Of these, 325 (77.8%) were offered in the online edition of the two newspapers. The Orlando Sentinels story count during the composite week of examination totaled 32

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33 444 articles for both its print and online edition. The Ocala Star-Banner story count during the same period totaled 299 articles for both editions. The relationship between the individual newspapers and amount of content present in the print edition and repurposed content for online use is important to examine. If there is a significant difference in content between markets, this study would not be able to compare the two newspapers with statistical validity. The findings indicate no significant difference between the two newspapers studied. While a modest increase in story count was evident in the larger market (Orlando), there is no evidence that this varies because of market size. Because the difference between the two newspapers is negligible in story counts in both editions, it allows for valid comparison. Table 4.1: Print and online story count by market Print % Online % Total % Orlando 252 60.29 192 59.08 444 59.76 Ocala 166 39.71 133 40.92 299 40.24 Total 418 100.00 325 100.00 743 100.00 Chi square = .0111347030396494, df = 1, not significant Localization of Editions The first research question examined the emphasis on geographic region in the print and Internet editions of both newspapers. As Singer (2001a) noted, the Internet is perceived as a niche medium and the newspaper Web site offers the editor the opportunity to provide unique local news on an international platform. The current study sought to examine the relationship between location of story and redistribution of articles from the print to the online edition of the Ocala Star-Banner and Orlando Sentinel. When story location was compared with the edition (print and online) and the individual newspaper, the relationship was statistically significant -the geographic location of the story does have a relationship to the story selection of online content. The

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34 difference between the variables is strongest when looking at the Sentinel results, where residual analysis shows a strong relationship between its print and online edition content when looking at geographic location of stories. The greatest residual difference (-13.78) exists in the value of the Sentinels online global content, meaning that stories of a global subject are less likely to be repurposed in the online edition than stories with a more proximate geographic emphasis. This relationship continued when looking at the Sentinels online national content, which contained a residual value (-11.56) that indicates fewer national stories were made available online than expected. Residual analysis of the Sentinels state (10.09) and metropolitan stories (5.77) demonstrated an figure that exceeded expected values, which indicates more state and metropolitan stories were made available than expected. The geographic stratification of articles appearing in the Star-Banner does not follow the pattern of providing more local content in the online edition. When looking at residual analysis of global (6.98) and national articles (4.51), there exist a greater number of articles than the expected value. Residual analysis of the state (-5.26) and metropolitan articles (-0.06) show a value that falls below the expected number of stories. The findings show that while the Sentinels online content included more metropolitan and state stories than expected, the Star-Banner reproduced fewer state and metropolitan articles than expected. It appears that the NAAs largest circulation group exhibit significant differences in geography of articles appearing in both the online and print edition. At the smaller circulation newspaper a less-significant difference exists between the two editions.

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35 Table 4.2: Geographic location of story by market and edition Orlando Print Orlando Online Ocala Print Ocala Online Total Global 41 18 35 29 123 % 33.33 14.63 28.46 23.58 100.00 National 77 44 51 43 215 % 35.81 20.47 23.72 20.00 100.00 State 61 61 45 30 197 % 30.96 30.96 22.84 15.23 100.00 Metro 38 36 22 21 117 % 32.48 30.77 18.80 17.95 100.00 Multiple 1 35 33 13 10 91 % 38.46 36.26 14.29 10.99 100.00 Total 252 192 166 133 743 % 33.92 25.84 22.34 17.90 100.00 Chi square = 28.2011616882942, df = 12, P .05, significant Reliance on Non-Staff Content The second research question asked if there exists a relationship between use of staff and non-staff content and edition of the newspaper (print versus online) and if this relationship affected by market (metropolitan versus rural). This was measured using two variables: First, the writers affiliation (newspaper staff, wire service staff, or non-staff contributor), and secondly, the source of photographs or graphic work accompanying the article (staff, wire service, non-staff contributor, government source). When both editions are counted, stories by writers not on the newspapers staff totaled 443 (59.6%), while stories by writers affiliated with the newspaper totaled 300 1 Multiple includes articles with more than one geographic classification, including: Metro and State; Metro, State and National; State and National; National and Global; Metro and Global; Metro, National and Global; and Metro, State, National and Global.

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36 (40.4%). When looking at the source of stories within each edition, the contrast becomes more apparent. As displayed in Table 4.3, the distribution of staff and non-staff material across editions is substantial. Residuals for the Sentinels print edition demonstrate a greater-than-expected value of staff-written material (17.26) and a less-than-expected value for non-staff material (-17.26). When looking at the Sentinels online edition, the residuals for the staff-written content (39.48) and non-staff-written content (-39.48) are both considerable. This shows that while both editions of the Sentinel show a preference for staff-written material, the online edition reproduces staff content much more frequently than non-staff content. The Star-Banner exhibits significant differences in the source of written content as well. But where the Sentinels online edition displayed more staff content, both the print and online editions of the Star-Banner displayed greater proportion of non-staff material compared to its staff content. Residual analysis of the print edition shows values of staff-written material (-31.03) that do not meet expected value and non-staff material (31.03) that exceeds expected value. Analysis of the online edition demonstrate a similar relationship, with residuals below expected value for staff-written material (-25.70) but above expected value for the non-staff material (25.70). This demonstrates that while neither edition matches expected values of staff content, the Star-Banner online edition is less dependent on non-staff material than the print edition.

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37 Table 4.3: Article source by market and edition Staff % Non-staff 2 % Total % Orlando Print 119 39.66 133 30.02 252 33.92 Orlando Online 117 39.00 75 16.93 192 25.84 Ocala Print 36 12.00 130 29.35 166 22.34 Ocala Online 28 9.33 105 23.70 133 17.90 Total 300 100.00 443 100.00 743 100.00 Chi square = 83.3379375665623, df = 3, P = .001, significant Like the written content, the graphical content contained in both editions was more likely to have been produced by a non-staff source than by the newspaper staff. Stories with non-staff graphics constituted 21.66% of the entire sample, but within editions of individual newspapers this distribution varied greatly. While the print edition relied heavily on non-staff produced graphics at both newspapers, neither newspaper reproduced a substantial number of non-staff graphics in the online edition. Residual analysis of Table 4.4 supports this statement: Sentinel non-staff graphics in the print edition (5.66) exceeded the expected value, while the non-staff graphics in the online edition (-16.40) fell far below the expected value; Star-Banner non-staff graphics in the print edition (24.20) far exceeding the expected value, while non-staff graphics in the online edition (-13.46) fell below the expected value. This shows that the source of graphics accompanying articles in the print edition differ from the source of graphics in the online edition articles. It also appears that while both staff-producedand non-staff-produced graphics reduced in number when stories were transferred online, non-staff 2 Non-staff includes all sources not listed as newspaper staff, including: Wire service and syndicate articles, articles by contributors to the newspaper, and articles from other newspapers.

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38 produced graphics were less likely to reappear in the online edition than graphics produced by the newspaper staff. Table 4.4: Graphic source by edition and market Staff Non-staff 3 Combination 4 None Total Orlando Print 35 60 6 151 252 % 42.68 37.27 24.00 31.79 33.92 Orlando Online 24 25 19 124 192 % 29.27 15.53 76.00 26.10 25.84 Ocala Print 15 60 0 91 166 % 18.29 37.27 0.00 19.16 22.34 Ocala Online 8 16 0 109 133 % 9.76 9.94 0.00 22.95 17.90 Total 82 161 25 475 743 % 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 Chi square = 80.6193047840931, df = 9, p = .001, significant Use of Photographs and Artwork The use of artwork and images in the print and online editions was the focus of the third research question of the current study. Already discussed was the frequency of the sources of graphics in both editions; this section deals with the prevalence of the types of graphics used in each edition. To measure this variable, the researcher classified graphical content appearing in each article of both editions. The types of graphics appearing in both editions were categorized as photographs, infographics, composite images and cartoons. Since no cartoons appeared in the sample, this category will be excluded from the following analysis. 3 Non-staff includes all graphic sources not listed as newspaper staff, including: Wire service and syndicate graphics, graphics by contributors to the newspaper, graphics from other newspapers and graphics from government sources. 4 Combination includes all articles that had graphics from multiple sources, including: Staff and wire service/syndicate; staff and government; and staff and contributor.

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39 When looking at the use of graphics it is important to first examine the distribution between the two newspapers. Both newspapers print editions contained more stories without graphics than stories containing graphics and this reflects on the graphic use in stories appearing in the online edition. Both newspapers offered visual content in almost a third of all stories, and the majority of stories within both newspapers offered no in-story graphics. The relationship is altered when looking at stories in the individual online and print formats. In the both newspapers the number of stories with photographic content decreased significantly when moving from the print to the online format. The Sentinels residual analysis of the print edition (16.84) and online edition (-16.84) demonstrates that stories containing photographs in the print edition did not usually contain photographs in the online edition. The Star-Banner showed a similar, but stronger relationship. Residual analysis shows the print edition (17.55) offering more photographic content than the online edition (-17.55), while stories with no graphical content was far more prevalent in the online edition (-23.27) than in the print edition (23.27). This shows that stories with photographs in the print edition appear without photographs in the online edition.

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40 Table 4.5: Type of graphic by newspaper edition and market Print % Online % Total % Orlando Photograph 90 21.53 40 12.31 130 17.50 Orlando Other 5 18 4.31 30 9.23 48 6.46 Orlando None 144 34.45 122 37.54 266 35.80 Ocala Photograph 71 16.99 24 7.39 95 12.79 Ocala Other 6 8 1.91 0 0.00 8 1.08 Ocala None 87 20.81 109 33.54 196 26.38 Total 418 100.00 325 100.00 743 100.00 Chi square = 46.8659442579277, df = 5, p 0.001, significant Headline Relationship The fourth research question sought to examine the similarity between headlines appearing in the print edition and the online edition of the two selected newspapers. To measure this variable, the researcher first recorded the article headline as it appeared in the print edition and then compared its phrasing with the headline appearing in the online edition. As Table 4.6 shows, among the stories reproduced in the online edition, the great majority of headlines matched verbatim. Of 325 articles appearing in both editions, only 8 online articles used an original headline to accompany its written content. This 5 Other graphic types include all multi-format and non-photograph graphics including: Cartoon; infographic; composite image; photograph and infographic; photograph and composite image; photograph, composite image and infographic; and composite image and infographic. 6 Other graphic types include all multi-format and non-photograph graphics including: Cartoon; infographic; composite image; photograph and infographic; photograph and composite image; photograph, composite image and infographic; and composite image and infographic.

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41 relationship, however, lacks statistical significance between editions and between markets. Table 4.6: Headline appearance by newspaper market Print Headline % Online Headline Same % Online Headline Different % Total % Orlando 252 60.23 187 58.99 5 62.50 444 59.78 Ocala 166 39.77 130 41.01 3 37.50 299 41.22 Total 418 100.00 317 100.00 8 100.00 743 100.00 Chi square = 0.15131120724963, df = 2, p 1, not significant

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CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION The purpose of this study was to investigate the variation of content among the online and print editions of two central Florida newspapers. The research questions asked the following: Is there a relationship between geographical location of content and edition of the newspaper (print versus online)? Is this relationship affected by market (metropolitan versus rural)? Is there a relationship between use of staff and non-staff content and edition of the newspaper (print versus online?) Is this relationship affected by market (metropolitan versus rural)? Is there a relationship between graphical content and edition of the newspaper (print versus online?) Is this relationship affected by market (metropolitan versus rural)? Is there a relationship between headline content and edition of the newspaper (print versus online)? Is this relationship affected by market (metropolitan versus rural)? A sample of the Orlando Sentinel and the Ocala Star-Banner was collected during a composite week during March 2003. Both frequency and cross-tabulation analyses were employed to answer the research questions. To determine statistical significance, Chi-square tests were performed on the cross-tabulation tables. Discussion of Results The results demonstrated that among the two selected newspapers, a substantial difference exists between the content presented in the online and print editions. During the composite week period, each edition of the newspapers presented unique geographic emphasis, different amounts of staff and non-staff produced stories and graphics, as well 42

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43 as types of graphical content. Headlines were found to be almost identical in presentation. When comparing the localization of online and print content, this study showed that both newspapers focused on different geographical areas for online content. Content originally appearing in the Sentinel print edition and redistributed to the online edition was more likely to cover local and state issues rather than global or international issues or subject matter. The Star-Banners online content was concentrated on stories of a global and national subject matter, rather than the more localized online content exhibited by the Sentinel. This distinction is important because while the Sentinel followed the expectations of previous research (Singer, 2001a), the Star-Banner demonstrated that some newspapers do not necessarily place a greater local emphasis of online content. Because of this distinction it appears that story geographic location is a selection criterion for online distribution. For the Sentinel, the more localized the story, the more likely it is to appear in the online edition; and conversely, for the Star-Banner, the less localized, the greater the likelihood of an article appearing in the online edition. This allows for important considerations of both audiences. Because the Sentinel audience is exposed to a proportionately greater amount of local coverage and the print audience is exposed to more global coverage, it would follow that each audience has a different conception of what is newsworthy and perhaps a more localized social reality. The Star-Banners audience online would have a less-localized social reality compared to its print audience. While the source of both graphical and written content in both newspapers leaned toward non-staff content in both editions, differences existed in the redistribution rates of

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44 both written and graphical content. The source of written content appears to have affected selection for online distribution in the two newspapers, as stories reproduced online were more likely to be written by a staff reporter than a non-staff writer. This is true for stories with graphics, as well. While many articles were stripped of graphical content when placed online, it was more likely that a staff-produced graphic would be redistributed than non-staff graphical material. There are three plausible explanations for this relationship. First, the editors intentionally focus the online material on local issues, which happen to be covered by staff reporters. Secondly, the required manpower of placement of articles on the Internet may prohibit a complete replication of the print edition. Third, costs of distributing wire service and syndicate content online may discourage redistribution of non-staff material. The use of different types of artwork and graphical content also were dissimilar in the two editions. While the majority of stories lacked accompanying graphics in both formats, photographs were the most common type of graphic used and were more commonly displayed in the print edition than the online edition. Despite lacking the strict space limitations found in the print edition, the online edition did not display additional graphics. This may be explained by the lack of resources devoted to the online staff (Singer et al, 1999). Headlines appearing in the online edition nearly always matched the print editions headline. Of the 325 stories appearing in both editions, only 8 stories (2.5%) contained headlines that did not repeat the print headline verbatim. The level of homogeneity between headlines of each edition suggests the use of content management system applications to place stories in the online edition. The headline being an essential

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45 element of the news article, the lack of variation among the two editions reinforces the established criticism of online news being simply shovelware. Implications of Study The process of media gatekeeping, which dictates what information is channeled to the public, is essential in the functioning in a democratic culture. Because democracy relies upon informed citizens to advance public policy, the medias gatekeeping is one means of judging public exposure to issues and news events in society. Past research (Singer, 2001a; Gubman and Greer, 1997) has demonstrated a unique function of online newspapers when compared to the print edition. These studies have criticized the amount of shovelware in the online edition and the amount of content repurposed from the print edition. This criticism contends that since Internet editions lack much original content, the newspapers online editors fail to utilize the interactive and multimedia capabilities of the Web and do not facilitate the gatekeeping function to inform the public of important societal issues. The current study is exploratory in nature and has several implications in regards to the field of converged journalism and the ongoing transition from printed newspapers to newspapers presented on the Internet. First, based on this studys results, it seems the process of online shovelware is as prevalent as ever. Stories that were repurposed to the Internet edition often varied little from the print edition other than the medium of which the information was passed. This supports the findings of Singer (2001a) and suggests that online editors are not fully utilizing the interactive and multimedia capabilities offered by the medium. The headlines were mostly identical; the photographs were mostly not transferred to the online edition; only major stories

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46 generated interactive features and these were repurposed from other stories and other newspapers. These findings suggest an evolving notion of newspaper gatekeeping. Beyond deciding what information is granted to the public, the Internet allows editors to choose how to present newsworthy information. The online news story allows the capability to include additional photographic, textual and multimedia content that is not viable in the print edition, providing the audience with an expanded reality of what constitutes a news story. This study is significant on two levels. First, it demonstrates that stories appearing in both print and online editions show little difference in the written content and often limits photographic content. Headlines and story content varied little between the online and print formats. Photographs accompanying stories appeared more frequently in the print format than the online format, despite the Internets less restrictive space limitations. The gate from the print to the online format is primarily a geographic filter that allows much local and state content to appear while serving as a barrier to less-local news being redistributed online. The gate also filters the source of content, reproducing most staff content while limiting the redistribution of non-staff material. On this basic level, the online gatekeeper is concerned with simple replication from print to online format, while considering factors that determine a storys reproduction. On another level, the online gatekeeper plays an important role in dictating, in the case of significant news, how the story is told. The Shuttle Columbia story appearing in the online Sentinel demonstrates this finding. The Columbia story had many local angles from the Orlando area and generated 19 articles during the seven-day content analysis.

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47 All 19 were reproduced in the online edition, representing 9.9% of all online content replicated from the print edition of the Sentinel. Each online Columbia article was accompanied with a photo gallery, video content, an interactive graphic and a mail-to link, none of which were offered in the print edition. These features allowed a matchless format, providing the audience and public with a truly multimedia understanding of the event. In the case of the Columbia story, the repurposed content was textual and photographic; however, multimedia and interactive content supplemented this material. This demonstrates the gatekeeping role of the online journalists at the Sentinel surpasses simple replication of the print edition. While the majority of articles online lack interactive features, certain subjects offer opportunities to expand coverage beyond what is capable at traditional media outlets. This manifestation of gatekeeping suggests an additional gate present at online newspapers, a gate determining whether a story deserves expanded interactive coverage or textual replication from the print edition. Limitations of Study The study has several limitations, the first of which is its small sample size. Most studies examine more than two newspapers to generate findings of value and statistical significance. This restriction threatens the external validity of the study and its larger application. A study lacking external validity cannot be projected to other populations. In this case, the results of the study are not applicable to other online and print newspapers of the circulation range of the Star-Banner and Sentinel. The two newspapers only apply to two 50,000 to 100,000 and more than 250,000 of the four NAA circulation categories. Another limitation is the method used for data collection. Because the analysis only included the front and local/state sections, it cannot be generalized to the

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48 newspapers and their online websites in totality. Editorial, sports, entertainment and other sections may demonstrate different results of the gatekeeping process. While this study thoroughly examined the specified material, the scope could be increased both within the selected newspapers and in the number of newspapers examined. Suggestions for Further Research While this study contained weaknesses in regard to external validity, it succeeded in adding to the literature of online gatekeeping and offers opportunities for further research. Ideally, a study of online newspaper content would include a sample that incorporates all national regions, newspaper circulation sizes and major ownership groups. While this would be difficult, a study examining a larger sample of any of these categories would result in greater generalization among the specified population. The study of ownership groups would provide findings to distinguish to levels of interactive and multimedia content among different media companies. An examination of newspaper circulation sizes could investigate the relationship between circulation size and the amount and forms of content available online. A study looking at newspapers in unique regions could examine the focus of online content in relation to community and regional issues. Beyond simply increasing the scope of the population sample, further research could investigate the online-only content at daily newspapers. Because each media organization has unique management and publication philosophies, online content varies among each organization. This could be examined for a number of variables: multi-media content, interactive content, community elements and the distribution of content among different newspapers within the organization.

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49 Further research could also investigate how decisions are made within the newspaper management about what content is included online and what is withheld. This could include a survey of editors use of content management programs to transfer stories to the online edition. Conclusion When considering the process of gatekeeping at journalism organizations, it is rare to find an example of a study that examines the process occurring between two forms of media. Past studies analyzed gatekeeping at the individual decision-making level (Garrison, 1980; Gieber, 1960; Shoemaker, 1991) or at the communications routine level (Martin, 1998; Shoemaker & Reese, 1991). This study analyzed the gatekeeping process across different media with similar content ownership by following the model established by Singer (2001a). Gatekeeping provided an appropriate model to compare the content of the newspapers original model of information transmission (print) to the online model of transmission. Using Lewins (1947b) model of transference of goods between channels, this study was conducted to compare the content of the online and print editions of two central Florida newspapers. The purpose of this study was to explore the different representations of news content provided to the consumers of online and print versions of the newspapers. The results demonstrated a considerable dissimilarity between the online and print editions of the two newspapers and the possible existence of a gate that dictates which content is distributed online and which remains as print-only. While one newspaper chose to focus online content on local and state issues, another focused on more global and national issues. The newspapers also differed on the distribution of the sources of

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50 graphical and written content. But at both newspapers, some elements changed little from the print edition the headlines were reproduced nearly always verbatim and little original content existed in the online edition. These findings offer important implications for the consumers of these news sources. While examining only a fraction of newspapers and media in general, this study does show that factors can determine what content is transferred across platforms. With emerging technologies, news content becomes increasingly converged and content becomes more easily redistributed between different media. This study provides only a glimpse of current sharing of information between media.

PAGE 59

APPENDIX SAMPLE CODING SHEET News story identification #: #___________ Media Source: ____ 1. Orlando Sentinel 2. Ocala Star-Banner Newspaper Edition: ____ 1. Print 2. Internet News story dated: Month_____ Day ______ Year ______ Headline: _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ News Story First Sentence: 51

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52 _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Type(s) of image(s) accompanying story: a.___ b.___ c.___ 1. Photograph 2. Cartoon 3. Infographic 4. Composite image 5. None Image source(s): a.___ b.___ c.___ 1. Staff 2. Syndicate or wire service (Associated Press, New York Times, Scripps Howard, etc.) 3. Contributor 4. Another newspaper: _____________ 5. Parent company 6. None Types of interactive features accompanying online story (note all applicable): a.___ b.___ c.___ d. ____ e. ____ f. ____ g. ____ 1. Video

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53 2. Audio 3. E-mail to option 4. Photo gallery 5. Forum 6. Interactive graphics 7. Poll 8. None Geography of story (note all applicable): a.___ b.___ c.___ 1. Outside of United States 2. Inside U.S.; outside Florida 3. Florida 4. None Dateline (city, state): ______________________ Story writer name: _______________________ Writer source: ___ 1. Staff 2. Wire service or syndicate (Associated Press, New York Times, Scripps Howard, etc.)

PAGE 62

54 3. Contributor 4. None

PAGE 63

LIST OF REFERENCES Allen, C. A. (1994, August). Internet lists and gatekeeping. Paper presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Convention, Atlanta, GA. Arant, M. D., & Anderson, J. Q. (2000, August). Online media ethics: A survey of U.S. daily newspaper editors. Paper presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Convention, Phoenix, AZ. Babbie, E. (2001). The practice of social research (9 th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Bass, A. Z. (1969). Refining the gatekeeper concept: A UN radio case study. Journalism Quarterly, 46, 69-72. Bagdikian, B. H. (2000). The media monopoly. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. Beard, F., & Olsen, R. L. (1999). Webmasters as mass media gatekeepers: A qualitative exploratory study. Internet Research, 9 (3), 200-211. Berelson, B. (1952). Content analysis in communication research. Glencoe, IL: Free Press. Bolt, J. A. (2002, August 16). Exec: Future of newspapers is online. Associated Press Online. Retrieved September 12, 2002, from the LEXIS-NEXIS database. Deuze, M. (2002, July 11). The Internet and its journalisms, part I: A typology of online journalism. Online Journalism Review. Retrieved August, 26, 2002, from: http://www.ojr.org/ojr/future/1026407729.php Dibean, W. (1999, March). How U.S. daily newspapers are using their Internet counterparts. Paper presented at the University of Luton Creativity and Consumption Conference, Luton, UK. Editor and Publisher (2002). Editor and Publisher International Year Book (82 nd ed.). New York. Garrison, B. (1980). The electronic gatekeeper: Editing on the copy desk of a metropolitan newspaper. Newspaper Research Journal, 1(3), 7-17. 55

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56 Garrison, B. (1998, August). Newspaper size as a factor in use of computer-assisted reporting. Paper presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Convention, Baltimore, MD. Geyskens, I., Gielens, K., & Dekimpe, M. G. (2002, Spring). The market valuation of Internet channel additions. Journal of Marketing, 66 (2), 102-120. Gieber, W. (1960). How the gatekeepers view local civil liberties news. Journalism Quarterly, 37, 199-205. Gubman, J., & Greer, J. (1997, August). An analysis of online sites produced by U.S. newspapers: Are the critics right? Paper presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Convention, Chicago, IL. Hall, J. (2001). Online journalism: A critical primer. London: Pluto Press. Hoovers Inc. (2003). Hoovers Company Profile Database American Public Companies. Retrieved April 20, 2003, from LEXIS-NEXIS database. Katz, J. (1994, September). Online or not, newspapers suck [Electronic version]. Wired, 2 (9). Krippendorff, K. (1980). Content analysis: An introduction to its methodology. Beverly Hills, CA., London: Sage Publications. Lasica, J.D. (1996, November). A new concept in news. American Journalism Review, 18 (9), 20-34. Lewin, K. (1947a). Frontiers in group dynamics: Concept, method and reality in science; social equilibria and social change. Human Relations, 1, 5-40. Lewin, K. (1947b). Frontiers in group dynamics: II. Channels of group life; social planning and action research. Human Relations, 1, 143-153. Li, X. (2002, Winter). Web page design affects news retrieval efficiency. Newspaper Research Journal, 23 (1), 38-49. Lippman, W. (1922). Public opinion. New York: macmillan. Martin, S. (1994, Spring). External information databases in small circulation newsrooms. Newspaper Research Journal, 15 (2), 154-160. Martin, S. (1998). How news gets from paper to its online counterpart. Newspaper Research Journal, 19 (2), 64-74. McQuail, D., & Windahl, S. (1981). Communication models for the study of mass communications. New York: Longman.

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57 McMillan, S. J. (2000, Spring). The microscope and the moving target: The challenge of applying content analysis to the World Wide Web. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 77, 80-98. Mueller, J., & Kamerer, D. (1995). Reader preference for electronic newspapers. Newspaper Research Journal, 16 (3), 2-13. Nicholson, J. (1999, May 22). Miami Herald competes with Spanish offering. Editor & Publisher, 132 (21), 151. Outing, S. (2002a, January 9). Use Web to supplement your print edition. Editor & Publisher, 132 (2). Outing, S. (2002b, July 17). Knight Ridder Digital cedes some control. Editor & Publisher, 132 (29). Palser, B. (2002, November). Weve only just begun. American Journalism Review, 24 (9), 39-42. Regan, T. (1995, Winter). News alone is not enough. Nieman Reports, 49 (4), 78. Riffe, D., Aust, C. & Lacy, S. (1993). The effectiveness of random, consecutive day and constructed week sampling in newspaper content analysis. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 70 (1), 133-139. Schafer, A. (2002, April). 2000 fizzled as the Internet election. Online Journalism Review. Retrieved August 27, 2002, from http://www.ojr.org/ojr/technology/1017962091.php Schudson, M. (2003). The sociology of news. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. Shoemaker, P. J. (1991). Gatekeeping. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Shoemaker, P. J., & Reese, S. D. (1991). Mediating the message: Theories of influences on mass media content. New York: Longman. Singer, J. B. (2001a). The metro wide web: Changes in newspapers gatekeeping role online. Journalism and Mass Communications Quarterly, 78 (1), 65-80. Singer, J. B. (2001b, September). Online newspapers go beyond shovelware. Paper presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Convention, Washington, DC. Singer, J. B., Tharp, M. P., & Haruta, A. (1999). Online staffers: Superstars or second-class citizens? Newspaper Research Journal, 20 (3), 29-47. Thomson Financial. (2003). Nelsons public company profiles. Retrieved April 20, 2003, from LEXIS-NEXIS database.

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58 United States Census Bureau. (n.d.a). 100 largest gaining counties. Retrieved September 3, 2002, from http://eire.census.gov/popest/data/counties/tables/CO-EST2001-10.php United States Census Bureau. (n.d.b). Florida Quickfacts. Retrieved September 5, 2002, from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/12000.html United States Census Bureau. (n.d.c). Estimated state demographic components. Retrieved September 8, 2002, from http://eire.census.gov/popest/data/international/tables/IN-EST2001-02.php Wanta, W., & Roark, V. (1992/1993). Which wirephotos are used and which are rejected at three newspapers. Newspaper Research Journal, 13/14 (4/1), 84-98. White, D. M. (1950). The gate keeper: A case study in the selection of news. Journalism Quarterly, 59, 60-65.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Matthew D. Blake was born in Evanston, Illinois, in 1976. He spent his early childhood in Madison, Wisconsin, before moving to Missoula, Montana, where he lived for much of his upbringing. In 1998, Blake graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison, where he earned a Bachelor of Science and majored in political science. Blake has instructed two Internet communications classes during his tenure at the University of Florida, as well as creating Web sites for clients at the university and beyond. His research interests include online communications and popular music history. Blake begins the doctoral program at the University of Floridas College of Journalism and Communications in Fall 2003. 59


Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0002857/00001

Material Information

Title: The Transparent gate : online and print editions at two central Florida newspapers
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Language: English
Creator: Blake, Matthew D. 1976- ( Dissertant )
McAdams, Melinda J. ( Thesis advisor )
Carlson, Dave ( Reviewer )
Sutherland, John ( Reviewer )
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2003
Copyright Date: 2003

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Journalism and Communications thesis, M.A.M.C
Dissertations, Academic -- UF -- Journalism and Communications

Notes

Abstract: This thesis examines the relationship between the content in the print and Internet editions of two central Florida newspapers, the Ocala Star-Banner and the Orlando Sentinel. These two newspapers represent separate classes of circulation size and corporate ownership while sharing circulation areas and local and state news stories. This study is aimed at contributing to the base of knowledge concerning the role of the online newspaper and its relationship to its print counterpart. The researcher sought to determine the similarity in content in the two editions by examining several variables. These included the localization of written content, source of written and graphical content, type of graphical content made available and the article headline text. These variables were examined using a quantitative content analysis. This study found dissimilarities between the two editions. The Internet edition offered a greater scope of state and local content, while the print edition provided more national and global content. This study also found that articles in the print editions were more likely to include a photograph than articles in the online editions and headlines were nearly always replicated verbatim from the print to the online edition. The study concluded that the focus of the online edition at the two newspapers is more localized than the print edition and its articles seldom offer supplementary content.
General Note: Title from title page of source document.
General Note: Includes vita.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.M.C.)--University of Florida, 2003.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UFE0002857:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0002857/00001

Material Information

Title: The Transparent gate : online and print editions at two central Florida newspapers
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Language: English
Creator: Blake, Matthew D. 1976- ( Dissertant )
McAdams, Melinda J. ( Thesis advisor )
Carlson, Dave ( Reviewer )
Sutherland, John ( Reviewer )
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2003
Copyright Date: 2003

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Journalism and Communications thesis, M.A.M.C
Dissertations, Academic -- UF -- Journalism and Communications

Notes

Abstract: This thesis examines the relationship between the content in the print and Internet editions of two central Florida newspapers, the Ocala Star-Banner and the Orlando Sentinel. These two newspapers represent separate classes of circulation size and corporate ownership while sharing circulation areas and local and state news stories. This study is aimed at contributing to the base of knowledge concerning the role of the online newspaper and its relationship to its print counterpart. The researcher sought to determine the similarity in content in the two editions by examining several variables. These included the localization of written content, source of written and graphical content, type of graphical content made available and the article headline text. These variables were examined using a quantitative content analysis. This study found dissimilarities between the two editions. The Internet edition offered a greater scope of state and local content, while the print edition provided more national and global content. This study also found that articles in the print editions were more likely to include a photograph than articles in the online editions and headlines were nearly always replicated verbatim from the print to the online edition. The study concluded that the focus of the online edition at the two newspapers is more localized than the print edition and its articles seldom offer supplementary content.
General Note: Title from title page of source document.
General Note: Includes vita.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.M.C.)--University of Florida, 2003.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UFE0002857:00001


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THE TRANSPARENT GATE: ONLINE AND PRINT EDITIONS AT TWO CENTRAL
FLORIDA NEWSPAPERS















By

MATTHEW D. BLAKE


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATION

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2003
















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank several individuals who provided support and guidance

throughout the writing of this study. First, I would like to thank Mindy McAdams, who

served as the chairperson of my thesis committee and offered her expertise concerning

online journalism. I would also like to thank committee members Dave Carlson and Dr.

John Sutherland for their valuable input.

I am also indebted to my parents, Philip and Katherine Blake, and brothers, Edward

and Daniel Blake, who provided loving support during the creation of this study. My

lifelong friend, Timothy Slack, provided much needed guidance throughout the graduate

school experience.



















TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ........................................................................ ii

LIST O F TA BLES ........................................................ .................... ........v

LIST OF FIGURES .............................................................................. vi

A B S T R A C T .................................................................... .................. ........................ v ii

CHAPTER

1 IN T R O D U C T IO N ......... ................. ............................................ .. ..................

O v erv iew ............................................................... ................................. ................... 1
Gatekeeping and the Internet Newspaper....................................................................3
R research P purpose .................. .......................................................... ............... ......
T h esis O utlin e .............. ................................................................ .............. .... .....

2 LITERATURE REVIEW................................................................7

O v erview ............................................................ 7
Gatekeeping in Mass Communication ................................. .... ..................7
G atekeeping and Social Reality ................................................... .................... 9
Electronic Newspaper Gatekeeping ...................................................................10
The Electronic N ewsroom ............................ ...... ........ .................... 14
Justification for Study ........................................ ................................ ................... .... 17
R research Q questions .................. .................. ................. .................... 19

3 M E T H O D O L O G Y ............. ........................................................ .................... 2 1

O v erv iew ...........................................................................2 1
Content Analysis Description......................... ...... .... ....................21
Study Sam ple ..................... ................... ........................... .................... 22
Study Sam ple: Print Edition .......................................................... .................... 23
Study Sam ple: Online Edition............................. .... ..... .................... 24
Sam pling Procedure ................................................................... .................... 26
Data Analysis ............................................... .................. 30











4 R E SU L T S ......... ......... .. ... ..... ... ................................ ....................32

L ocalization of E editions ..................................... ........................ .........................33
Reliance on N on-Staff Content ..............................................................................35
Use of Photographs and Artwork.........................................................................38
H deadline R relationship ................................................................ .................... 40

5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION..............................................42

D discussion of R results .................................................................. ................... 42
Im plications of Study .................................................................. ................... 45
L im stations of Study .................................................................. .................... 47
Suggestions for Further Research .............................................. ....................48
C conclusion ..................... ..... ............................. ...... ... ... .........49

APPENDIX SAMPLE CODING SHEET............................................... ....................51

LIST O F REFEREN CES ......... ................... ......... ..........................................55

BIO G RA PH ICA L SK ETCH ................................................................ ...................59

































iv

















LIST OF TABLES

Table Page

4.1 Print and online story count by market .......................... ...... ....................33

4.2 Geographic location of story by market and edition............................................34

4.3 Article source by market and edition ................................... .................... 37

4.4 Graphic source by edition and market ........................... ................................38

4.5 Type of graphic by newspaper edition and market ..............................................40

4.6 Online Edition Headlines .................. ..................................... 40

















LIST OF FIGURES

Figure page

2.1 White's version of gatekeeping (based on Shoemaker, 1991, p. 10)..............9.....9

2.2 Inter-edition newspaper gatekeeping .......................................................19

















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication

THE TRANSPARENT GATE: ONLINE AND PRINT EDITIONS AT TWO CENTRAL
FLORIDA NEWSPAPERS

By

Matthew D. Blake

December 2003

Chair: Mindy McAdams
Major Department: Journalism and Communications

This thesis examines the relationship between the content in the print and Internet

editions of two central Florida newspapers, the Ocala Star-Banner and the Orlando

Sentinel. These two newspapers represent separate classes of circulation size and

corporate ownership while sharing circulation areas and local and state news stories.

This study is aimed at contributing to the base of knowledge concerning the role of the

online newspaper and its relationship to its print counterpart.

The researcher sought to determine the similarity in content in the two editions by

examining several variables. These included the localization of written content, source of

written and graphical content, type of graphical content made available and the article

headline text. These variables were examined using a quantitative content analysis.

This study found dissimilarities between the two editions. The Internet edition

offered a greater scope of state and local content, while the print edition provided more

national and global content. This study also found that articles in the print editions were









more likely to include a photograph than articles in the online editions and headlines were

nearly always replicated verbatim from the print to the online edition.

The study concluded that the focus of the online edition at the two newspapers is

more localized than the print edition and its articles seldom offer supplementary content.

















CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Overview

If one begins with the reinterpretation of Plato's simile of the cave contained in

Public Opinion (Lippmann, 1922), the conveyance of information from the mass media

to its audience has been studied for nearly a century. Since Lippmann's idea of the

media's creation of a "picture in our heads," many theories have been initiated and

multiple innovations have assisted in the study of mass communication. Among

communication innovations, the Internet encompasses a unique audience and vast amount

of information. While television and print communications offer information from an

organization to the public, the Internet provides interactive communication to a global

audience. Like communication devices before it, the Internet has inspired scholarly

literature that searches to understand its use, its messages, and its effects on society.

Among journalists, the Internet presents a potential quandary and an opportunity.

While reaching a wider audience and providing advanced technology for transmission of

information, the newspaper Web site often channels information without demand for the

financial compensation that makes it a viable business and its information a valuable

commodity. Newspaper editors are faced with an industry-wide question of how to

present information on the Internet without compromising the traditional pay-for-access

format (Bolt, 2002; Geyskens, Gielens, & Dekimpe, 2002; Outing, 2002a, 2002b; Hall,

2001). This question has been answered in various manners. Some newspaper Internet









editions require payment for access to content, most notably The Wall Street Journal,

where in 1999, 50,000 users paid $59 annually for online access (Hall, 2001). Beyond

requiring payment for content, other newspapers offer different levels of access to

information: Some require registration for Internet content; some continue to offer online

content for free while charging for archived content; some offer entire current-day and

archived Internet content free while requiring payment for only the print edition. This

inconsistency tells of an evolving and developing model of media practice.

The costs of acquiring information online are often borne in the purchasing of a

computer and an Internet connection (Hall, 2001), not in direct payment to the

information provider. This shift in consumer costs has resulted in the newspaper's

reevaluation of how to present its information, at what costs, and on what medium. The

print edition is traditionally profitable because of its advertising revenue, which allows a

newspaper's financial viability (Bagdikian, 2000). A newspaper's print audience is what

maintains the print advertising revenue. The Internet edition has proved to be less

profitable in many cases it actually runs at a deficit. However, more than 3,000 U. S.

daily newspapers have Internet editions that run information similar to what is found in

the print edition (Palser, 2002). Past studies have shown different graphics, stories,

interactive features in each edition (Dibean, 1999; Gubman & Greer, 1997; Li, 2002;

Singer, 2001a, 2001b).

Exposure to each edition offers different exposure to what is considered

newsworthy. The different information traveling through each model of transmission

illustrates the concept of media gatekeeping: Who gets what information.









Gatekeeping and the Internet Newspaper

Gatekeeping as constructed by Lewin (1947b) is composed of "channels" that

"proceed in definite steps" (p. 144). Lewin uses the distribution and consumption of food

to describe this process. Channels to obtain food include the purchase at the grocery

market or growing vegetables in a garden. After obtaining the food, the next step in the

gatekeeping process is another channel option, to store or consume the food. The

progression of channels can continue to the preparation and consumption of the food.

Once material passes through a channel its properties are altered to reflect its

modification. Lewin's example is the status of food after purchase: "Having invested a

substantial sum of money in the food, she [provider] will be especially insistent that the

food safely reach the table and be eaten" (p. 145). This is an example of the "gate,"

which is a section in the channel that dictates whether the good passes through the

channel based on its properties prior to entering the channel.

The gate or gate sections are governed by impartial rules or by "gate keepers"

(Lewin, 1947b). The gatekeeper in this example is the person who either buys or

produces the food. Impartial rules, according to Lewin, can include economic and social

factors.

Lewin only briefly mentions gatekeeping's application to the study of

communications, but the widespread acceptance of Internet editions by newspapers to

complement print editions provides a unique opportunity to study communications'

gatekeeping function between editions. Lewin's food consumption model can be

replicated by substituting the material (instead of food, written and graphical content), the

gatekeeper (instead of the purchaser or provider of food, the newspaper editor), and the









gate (instead of the purchase of food, the transfer of information to the Internet or

newspaper from the newsroom).

In this revision of Lewin's gatekeeping model, the news content -both written and

graphical -is present in the newsroom from multiple sources: First, the newspaper staff;

second, the wire service or syndicate; third, freelance writers; and fourth, the readers of

the newspaper in letters to the editor. This information is judged by the gatekeeper

(editor) and is either passed through the Internet channel -and transferred to the

newspaper's online edition -or not passed through the channel to be placed online.

Using this model, the researcher intends to examine the content that is present in the print

and online editions of two newspapers.

Research Purpose

Applying the idea of media gatekeeping to the Internet newspaper is not a new

concept, however, current research is limited. Further evaluation is required, if for no

other reason than the constantly changing nature of Internet news content and

presentation (McMillan, 2000). This study intends to demonstrate the news content

differences, in amount and display, in the print and online editions of the daily

newspaper. Both the print and online newspaper serve as gatekeeping channels through

which news and information travel to its audience; these channels stream different

amounts and types of information to each respective audience (Singer, 2001b; Gubman &

Greer, 1997; Schafer, 2002).

By examining the print and online editions of selected newspapers, the author

hopes to demonstrate the different "pictures in our heads" that each format presents. This

study will look at the news content of the print and online editions of two central Florida

newspapers and compare the results. Examining the content in the print edition and






5


comparing it to the online content allows comparison of what stories are redistributed

online and how articles appear online compared to the print appearance. By displaying

the variance in content, the author will demonstrate the contrasting perspective delivered

to the readers of a publication's online and its print edition.

Thesis Outline

The following chapter investigates the fundamentals of the gatekeeping process in

mass communication. The author reviews the seminal studies before narrowing the focus

to electronic and Internet gatekeeping. There are two established manners of

investigating newspapers' Internet presence: First, by looking at the content and format

of newspapers' Internet presence, and second, by researching the wired newsroom and

the process of channeling information from the print to the online edition. For the sake

of brevity, the latter will be reviewed but not analyzed; the focus of this study is the

articles presented in each edition (print or online). Chapter 2 will close with the study's

research questions.

In Chapter 3, the researcher will present a quantitative content analysis model

used to collect data for this study. This study employed a composite week model that

investigated several variables. Chapter 3 will also discuss the sample used in the study,

the units of analysis, and the general methodology.

Chapter 4 will look at the findings of the quantitative content analysis of the print

and online editions of the newspapers. The findings will establish the dissimilarity

between the two editions of the selected newspapers in several categories. Differences in

content can be found in the geographic emphasis of the stories presented in each edition,

the source of the written and graphical content in each edition, the type of graphical






6


content used online and in print, and the phrasing of the headlines among identical

stories.

Chapter 5 will discuss the study's findings and discuss the implications and

weaknesses of the conducted research. Chapter 5 will also conclude the study with a

general conclusion of this study's significance.

















CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW

Overview

The adoption of new technologies by established media demands reevaluation of

the production and presentation of information to its audience. When a newspaper

establishes an Internet presence, the effects are significant in personnel, financial

distribution, and most notably, the diversity of channels on which to transmit the

information that allows the organization continued viability. Media gatekeeping theory is

effective when evaluating the dissimilarity between content produced by traditional,

established print media and Interet-based media. This chapter begins with a review of

relevant academic research and literature, followed by research questions.

Gatekeeping in Mass Communication

As noted in chapter 1, the concept of a "gate keeper" was introduced by social

psychologist Kurt Lewin, who in 1947 coined the term while studying food consumption

habits. The gatekeeper in Lewin's study was the person who decided what food appeared

on a family's dinner table. In the process leading to the appearance of food on the dinner

table, the food passed through several "channels" or gate sections. Lewin briefly related

this process to the news selection process, which he noted must be governed by a

gatekeeper or "impartial" rules.

Lewin's seminal study was followed by White's introduction of Mr. Gates (1950),

the wire editor who functioned as the at a medium-sized Midwestern newspaper. Mr.









Gates served as the gate for the news that would appear on the front and "jump" pages of

the newspaper, and his decision was final. For this reason, White considered Mr. Gate's

decision-making to be the most important of the various "gates" of news selection that

each story passed through. White's study has since met criticism, however, for limiting

its analysis to a single wire editor (Bass, 1969), and for not addressing the personal

factors that influenced Mr. Gate's decision-making processes (Gieber, 1960).

Since Lewin's and White's initial studies, researchers have investigated other

channels in the process of media gatekeeping. Gieber (1960) sought to analyze the

gatekeeping function of newspapers by reviewing the "judgments and perceptions of

some of the persons involved in the transmission of news to the community" (p. 199). He

concluded that the reporter must judge "whether the information is sufficiently

important" (p. 200) to the audience while considering its newsworthiness. McQuail and

Windahl (1981) expanded on this approach by creating a hypothetical model that

demonstrated the transference of messages from the news source (N) to the media

gatekeeper, who selects messages deemed suitable for the audience (M).

Beyond the organization that delivers the information, the process of gatekeeping

can be narrowed to the individual consumer of information. Shoemaker (1991) defined

this perspective as a process "by which billions of messages that are available in the

world get cut down and transformed into the hundreds of messages that reach a given

person on a given day." This interpretation holds certain validity among contemporary

media consumers, who are offered far more choices of communication channels than

those of previous decades.
















NEWS ITEM 2 "
SOURCE OF NEWS ITEM 3 AUDIENCE
NEWS ITEM IT













Figure 2 1 White's version of gatekeepmg (based on Shoemaker, 1991, p 10)

Gatekeeping and Social Reality

While contemporary media users have more sources of news and information than

in the past, one effect of receiving that information remains unchanged the construction

of social reality from the information provided by news sources When information is

judged newsworthy by editors and passed through the gate to the public, it influences the

public perception of what is considered important (Shoemaker, 1991) This canbe

achieved in mass media beyondjournalism Advertising can influence consumer

behavior by portraying a product as necessary or beneficial, government announcements

can inform the public of an array of information, from weather alerts to crime trends,

editonals can influence the public by making judgment on an issue with supporting facts

But news is 'the language in which most other claims to attention circulate" (Schudson,

2003), because it can strengthen public knowledge through unbiased reporting of facts









and circumstances without the appearance of conflict of interest between the source of

the information and the facts presented.

This distinction between journalism and other mass media gives news a unique

position in a democratic culture. Journalists are expected to perform watchdog duties on

public and private institutions that would otherwise remain unchecked. Because

journalism offers theoretically unbiased information, it gains greater respect among the

public. Schudson (2003) calls this "moral amplification": "A news story is an

announcement of a special kind. ... It announces to audiences that a topic deserves

public attention." The responsibility of the journalistic gatekeeper is to keep the public

informed.

The process of journalistic gatekeeping goes beyond than the model of general

consumption presented by Lewin (1947). Shoemaker (1991) provides an example of

gatekeeping on the individual:

The process of gatekeeping is the process of creating social reality: If an event is
rejected by the media I use, it probably will not become part of the social reality I
perceive. If the event is accepted and displayed prominently, then it may not only
become part of my version of social reality but it may strongly influence my view
of the world. (p. 27)

Because the public perception of issues is framed generally by news organizations and

specifically by gatekeepers, the news culture of the Internet that offers immediate news

and information, presents new responsibilities for journalists and the public.

Electronic Newspaper Gatekeeping

The introduction of recent computer technologies into the newsroom was first

examined by Garrison (1980), who studied the adoption of the word processor and its

effect on the gatekeeping process. Garrison found that despite new technologies, slot

editors relied on printed hard copy (paper) for the delivery to copy editors, who edited









hard copy content on word processors to create a soft copy (electronic) before sending the

story to production. The study concluded that while the technology's effect on the

newspaper's gatekeeping function was minimal, the computer eased editing while

facilitating the copy flow from reporter to production.

The use of photographs transmitted via the Associated Press wire was studied in a

gatekeeping study by Wanta and Roark (1992/1993). The researchers found that

photographic gatekeeping decisions depended largely upon the newspapers' tradition,

national trends, newspaper market size, and which news events provided a wide variety

of images.

The introduction of the Internet has provided a new perspective on the

gatekeeping process. It would seem the process of gatekeeping is rendered obsolete with

the Internet, a medium that allows consumers to organize personal interests without the

traditional gatekeepers to channel information. But the few studies that have explored

online gatekeeping suggest the role of the gatekeeper is not disappearing but evolving.

This revision of the gatekeeping process has placed nontraditional media representatives

as gatekeepers, including discussion list owners (Allen, 1994); online newspaper editors

(Singer, 2001); and Webmasters (Beard & Olsen, 1999).

One manifestation of the gatekeeper is the Webmaster, who Beard and Olsen

(1999) argue fulfills characteristics of the mass media gatekeeper. The Webmaster, like

the newspaper editor, makes decisions regarding the selection and presentation of

messages. Like other traditional media gatekeepers, the researchers found that the

Webmaster's skills and experiences influence content and selection of information when

performing the gatekeeping role (Beard & Olsen, 1999). Internet editors at smaller and









medium-sized newspapers are often expected to perform multiple duties, while larger

newspapers allow one employee to assume the role of Webmaster (Singer, Tharp and

Haruta, 1999).

Among journalists, the online gatekeeper plays a unique role. Unlike reporters or

traditional editors, online staffers are often understood to be "content providers" who

understand the technology necessary for putting the information on the Web (Lasica,

1997). The content that is replicated from the print to the online edition is often referred

to as "shovelware," or "content that was created for the print product and has simply been

shoveled on the Web" (Singer, 2001a). Many critics (Katz, 1994; Regan, 1995; Lasica,

1996) begrudge shovelware as lacking original content in a fresh medium and not fully

utilizing the technology available to online. This criticism has been investigated

repeatedly -to mixed results -over the past decade.

Gubman and Greer (1997) found inconsistencies among sites after analyzing 83

online newspapers of all circulation categories for content, structure and interactivity.

The researchers found that electronic newspapers offered content that was mainly

reproduced exactly from the print edition. There was no localization of national stories

and few changes in the linear storytelling format adapted from the print edition. The

researchers also found few sites using multimedia or interactive tools to assist in

storytelling. Gubman and Greer concluded that much of the criticism of online

journalism was well founded.

Singer (2001a) looked at six Colorado newspapers' online editions and examined

the content for geography (local versus non-local), Web-only content, and artwork. The

study found very little original content on the online editions. Of 2,455 total stories









analyzed, only 158 were Interet-exclusive, and 2,173 ran only in the print edition,

suggesting that "shovelware" continued to be prevalent at these papers. In the Web sites

studied, more space was devoted to metro and local news, proportionately, than to the

content offered in the print edition. Another characteristic of the online edition, according

to Singer, was the lack of appealing graphics. Singer noted that "despite the Web's

multimedia capabilities, many online papers are less visually enticing than their print

counterparts, at least in terms of information-conveying graphics" (p. 76). Singer's

analysis seems to agree with Gubman and Greer's and that of other critics -too much

shovelware, little original content, few multimedia applications.

Singer (200 ib) examined the online coverage of the 2000 local and national

elections by surveying editors at the largest newspaper in each of the 50 states and all

American newspapers included in the Newspaper Association of America's largest

circulation category (250,000 and greater). Realizing the Internet offers means of

enhancing political discourse as a two-way, interactive medium with tools such as polls,

e-mail, discussion forums and information-retrieval tools, Singer sought to measure the

difference in Internet utilization between the 1996 and 2000 elections. In the four years

separating the elections, the study found more original content (78.9% of the analyzed

sites offered Web-only election coverage), increased traffic to Web sites, and extensive

interactive features including ballot guides, detailed candidate profiles, precinct finders,

and archived poll results. The online newspapers also offered frequent updates that

permitted competition with television as the medium of choice (Singer, 2001). These

capabilities drew a greater audience to Internet news sites during Election 2000, when

nearly 20% of Americans reported getting campaign news online, according to the Pew









Research Center for the People and the Press (Schafer, 2001). Such statistics suggest that

the Internet is becoming a viable political news source and gatekeeping is indeed moving

beyond simple shovelware.

Arant and Anderson (2000) performed perhaps the most extensive survey of

newspaper editors regarding online media ethics in the contemporary environment.

Despite not focusing on Internet newspaper gatekeeping, the survey offers insights into

the amount of original content relative to shovelware at newspapers of various sizes.

With over 200 responses, the researchers built upon Singer's foundations and

reestablished that Internet newspapers are moving beyond repurposed content. Among

the wide-ranging sample (from less than 15,000-circulation to more than 200,000-

circulation newspapers), Arant and Anderson found only 20% offering no unique content

on the Interet. Additionally, 31% offered Internet-only content and 53% presented

Interet-only sections and features. The survey also provided insight into what is added

when a story goes online: 60% of editors said they added hypertext links; 30% changed

artwork and photos, and 23% changed the structure of the story (Arant and Anderson,

2000).

Electronic gatekeeping has been examined from the inception of wired content

and the introduction of the word processor to the current circumstances of the global

audience and interactive mass media. Beyond specific gatekeeping studies, the

researcher must examine the electronic newsroom, where important gatekeeping and

editorial decisions are made.

The Electronic Newsroom

The Internet offers the media professional new means of both collecting and

transmitting information. While researchers such as Garrison have written extensively on









reporters' use of the Internet for reporting, the purpose of this study is not to examine

reporter's use of information; therefore, media professionals' use of the Internet for

research will be ignored here. The focus of this section is the environment at Internet

newsrooms -how many employees, what tasks are employed, the general relationship

between the online and print newsroom and the disparities between large and small

newspapers. These variables allow for inconsistencies in online newspaper's content and

appearance, which is the focus of this study.

How to staff an online edition of a newspaper continues to be explored differently

at various institutions. For example, the New York Times houses its online staff in a

different building than the print staff, while The Wall Street Journal reconfigured its

newsroom to accommodate both staffs (Singer et al., 1999). Even among newspapers

with the same ownership, approaches differ. The Boston Globe and the New York Times

are both owned by the New York Times Company, yet take varied approaches at their

Internet identities. While the Times emphasizes similarity to its print edition, the Globe's

Web site, Boston.com, serves as a city guide as well as a media outlet.

There is perhaps no greater indication of technological and human resources than

the circulation of the newspaper and its operating budget. Garrison (1998) examined

technological discrepancies among newspapers of various circulation categories and

found that large newspapers (newspapers with a circulation greater than 50,000) hold

several advantages over smaller newspapers. Garrison (1998) found that large

newspapers:

Have more individuals involved in computer-assisted reporting than small

newspapers.









Are more likely to provide computer training than small newspapers.

Subscribe to "expensive" (p. 5) online databases (Lexis-Nexis, Database

Technologies' Autotrack Plus, Dow Jones) more often than small newspapers.

Devote a greater amount of financial support to online services.



While conceding the "common sense" (p. 6) findings of the study, Garrison did show

that large newspapers are able to grant more resources to Internet editions and computer-

assisted reporting than counterparts at smaller newspapers. During the time of the survey

(January through March 1997), more than 76% of larger newspapers, and fewer than 60%

of the smaller newspapers, had Internet editions (Garrison, 1998).

Singer et al (1999) investigated the responsibilities, attitudes and salaries of online

and print staffers and editors in her 1998 survey that looked at online and print

newsrooms. Like Garrison, Singer found that larger papers were likely to offer resources,

especially in terms of online edition employees, where smaller newspapers were more

likely to have crossover staff (employees performing tasks at two departments) from the

print to the online newsroom. The study also showed copy editors to be the most likely

to do double duty in the online and print newsrooms. Financially, print employees fared

better than online employees, and the sizes of online staffs were smaller than those of

print newsrooms (Singer et al, 1999). These disadvantages in the online newsroom

affected attitudes in both the print and online newsrooms, as evidenced in open-ended

responses to the survey. Several print managers described their job as harder because of

firm deadlines and space restrictions. Online managers said some of the problems they

face include finding qualified applicants for technological positions and the difficulty of









producing a profitable product. Online managers also complained about a lack of respect

from their print colleagues (Singer et al, 1999).

Justification for Study

The process of gatekeeping determines what information is provided to the public

from traditional journalistic organizations. Prior to the implementation of the online

edition at daily newspapers, only one channel from the print journalist to the public

existed to measure the gatekeeping process. With more than 1,200 daily newspapers

offering an Internet edition (Singer, 2001b), there are now two channels that can be

compared and analyzed.

The collective criticism of newspapers' Internet edition is the repurposing of

content, or "shoveling," from the print edition. The introduction of computer

technologies to the newsroom alters the editors' ability to dictate what information is

provided to the public to shape readers' social reality of what is newsworthy. If print

edition content is "shoveled" to the Internet edition, the process of discriminating

between content passed through this channel is eliminated. This holds important societal

consequences in a democracy that allows citizens to influence public policy. If the online

edition replicates print edition content, it follows that the information provided to the

audience is not unique to either newspaper edition. Past studies (Singer, 2001a; Li, 2002;

Gubman & Greer, 1997) have demonstrated that online editions are not precisely

replicated from the print edition and usually include a greater proportion of local stories

compared to national and global articles. These findings demonstrate the online

newspaper reader perceives a more localized reality of what is newsworthy compared to

the reader of the print edition.









The process of taking content from one edition and channeling it to another

format is an example of gatekeeping. The gatekeepers are the editors who decide what

print content is to be repurposed in the Internet edition. How the two editions differ

determines the extent of distinct information provided to the each audience. Three

manners in which the editions can differ are the written and graphical source of the

article, the geographic emphasis of the article and the supplementary interactive features

in the online article. This will be the focus of the current study.

This study will apply past models to the gatekeeping process linking the print and

Internet editions at two daily newspapers. By examining the print content and comparing

it to the Internet edition content, the researcher hopes to find what content is repurposed

in the Internet edition. Figure 2.2 illustrates the process that will be measured. The

original newspaper print edition content will be analyzed and the results will be used to

find what content was transferred to the Internet edition. This will be measured by









geographic emphasis and the source of written and graphical content


NEWS ITEM 1
NEWS ITEM 2
PRINT EDITION NEWS ITEM 3
AND NEWSROOM
CONTENT NEWS ITEM 4


INTERNET
EDITION
CONTENT


Figure 2 2 Inter-edition newspaper gatekeeping

This study will demonstrate the different information provided to the audiences of

both the pnnt and Internet newspaper edition

Research Questions

The process of media gatekeepmg in both pnnt- and online-edition newspapers

has been investigated Singer (2001) offers a validated design for examining the

discrepancies between pnnt and online editions of newspapers This includes the

representation of the Newspaper Association of America's (NAA) circulation categones

and the use of a constructed week to measure vanables Using established methods of

comparing online and pnnt content, this study will ask the following









RQ1: Is there a relationship between geographical location of content and edition of the

newspaper (print versus online)? Is this relationship affected by market (metropolitan

versus rural)?



RQ2: Is there a relationship between use of staff and non-staff content and edition of the

newspaper (print versus online?) Is this relationship affected by market (metropolitan

versus rural)?



RQ3: Is there a relationship between graphical content and edition of the newspaper

(print versus online?) Is this relationship affected by market (metropolitan versus rural)?



RQ4: Is there a relationship between headline content and edition of the newspaper (print

versus online)? Is this relationship affected by market (metropolitan versus rural)?















CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

Overview

To examine the mass media gatekeeping process, researchers rely upon different

methodologies, including the case study, the survey, the in-depth interview and the

content analysis. While each offers advantages, content analysis allows the researcher to

unobtrusively compare the exact content that passes through the "gates" or "channels" in

the process. This becomes especially relevant when comparing the content of a

newspaper's online and print edition because often the stories are repurposed

"shovelware" and lack overall creativity on the online edition (Katz, 1994; Regan, 1995;

Gubman & Greer, 1997; Singer, 2001b). Print and online editions have been compared

and researched during the past decade, but due to the Internet's continual adaptation of

new technologies and continuous changes in content (McMillan, 2000) past findings must

be reevaluated to measure current validity.

This chapter will begin with definitions and functions of content analysis,

followed by a detailed explanation of the researcher's selection criteria for newspapers,

time frame, and stories. After listing the coding categories, the conceptual and

operational definitions of key terms stated in the research questions will be provided.

Content Analysis Description

Berelson offered the most commonly used definition of content analysis: "Content

analysis is a research technique for the objective, systematic and quantitative description

of the manifest content of communication" (1952, p. 18). Krippendorff (1980) explains









content analysis as "a research technique for making replicable and valid inferences from

data to their context" (p. 21). Content analysis is by nature an unobtrusive technique that

prevents errors being included in the data due to the subject's knowledge of the study.

Potential subject factors that could invalidate a study include: Awareness, influences,

stereotypes, and experimenter-interviewer interaction (Krippendorff, 1980). Inferences

from content analysis involve the sender and receiver of the message, the communication

channel and the message itself.

Study Sample

To compare online and print content of newspapers, one must examine articles in

both formats. Two newspapers were selected and both formats were examined for six

variables. The units of analysis for this study were the individual articles in both the print

and the online format. Considering each format for a single story allowed for individual

analysis of a single story in two formats.

To ensure validity beyond a single week, the researcher employed the constructed

week format of sampling. To construct a composite week, the researcher randomly

selected a Sunday from the sample period, followed by random selections of a Monday,

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. This eliminates the possibility of

overrepresentation of certain editions of the week, such as the larger Sunday paper. Using

a composite week also allows greater generalization over time (Riffe, Aust, and Lacy,

1993). Both online and print editions of each newspaper were content analyzed during

each day of the composite week period. In this study, the composite week was

constructed during four weeks beginning Saturday, February 1, 2003, and ending

Saturday, March 1, 2003. During the seven selected dates, the researcher conducted all

coding for the print and Internet newspaper content.









This content analysis includes two central Florida newspapers, the Orlando Sentinel

and the Ocala Star-Banner. These newspapers offer contrasting ownership and

circulation. Both, however, share overlapping circulation areas, and subsequently

distribute similar local and state news stories and coverage.

The Orlando Sentinel has a circulation of 254,956 (Editor & Publisher Yearbook,

2002) and is owned by the Tribune Company, the second largest newspaper publisher in

the United States (behind Gannett). The Tribune Company owns 12 newspapers

including The Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and

Newsday (Hoover's Company Profile Database, 2003).

The Ocala Star-Banner has a circulation of 52,041 (Editor and Publisher, 2002) and

is owned by the New York Times Company. The New York Times Company includes

the New York Times newspaper, Boston Globe, the international Herald-Tribune, 18

smaller dailies (including the Star-Banner) and three weeklies (Hoover's Inc, 2003).

The contrast in circulation size is relevant because it has been demonstrated that

large newspapers offer greater resources for online productions than smaller newspapers

(Singer et al, 1999; Garrison, 1998). Ownership of the newspapers is relevant because

different corporate ownership indicates unique management philosophies in relation to

online and print publications.

Study Sample: Print Edition

The first articles to be selected and evaluated were those that appeared in the

current-day print edition of the two newspapers. For both newspapers, the front section

and local or state section were evaluated. In the Star-Banner, the local section is named

"Marion," the name of the county of publication; in the Sentinel, the local section is









named "Local & State." Other newspaper sections (sports, arts, entertainment, lifestyle,

business, travel, general feature sections, weather and advertising sections) were ignored.

Also withheld from examination were "In Brief' stories or updates because these

articles lacked image content and standard headlines. Determining what was an "In

Brief' story varied among the two newspapers. The Orlando Sentinel notated these

stories with a label reading "In Brief' and several one-paragraph stories. The Star-

Banner labeled these articles under a general subject heading (for example, "Nation" or

"World") and included multiple paragraphs. Other than the briefs and updates, each

current-day news story was coded in the two selected sections.

Study Sample: Online Edition

After coding stories from each newspaper's front and local sections, the researcher

examined the content of the same stories that appeared in the online edition. The Internet

content was examined on the same date as the print publications' release.

The method of finding the stories within the Internet edition included numerous

techniques. First, the researcher used the search function located on the home page of

each newspaper's online edition. Inside the search form, the researcher initially entered

the first four words of the article's print headline. For example, if the print headline read,

"Trauma centers warn lives could be at risk," the researcher entered "Trauma centers

warn lives" into the search form to examine results.

If the search results yielded stories included an identical headline or a subject

matter related to the print edition article, the researcher determined whether the story was

identical to the print edition by examining its first sentence and written content. If the

initial search failed to produce any results, the researcher then entered the entire headline

into the search form. The final step using the search function to find the story in the









online edition was to enter the article's reporter or author name, which resulted in a

display of the recent stories by the reporter or author. The search function was the most

commonly used method of finding online stories because it most often yielded articles

offered in the print edition.

If every search attempt failed to produce the story or a closely related article, the

researcher then manually searched the hypertext headlines appearing on the newspaper

home page and individual section home pages. This method differed for each newspaper

due to the each site's architecture.

The Orlando Sentinel offers five hypertext headlines on the top of the home page

(http://www.orlandosentinel.com/) and lists 20 additional hypertext headlines at the

bottom of the homepage under the label "More Headlines." Searching these headlines for

stories found in the print edition was the first step in manual search process. Next, the

researcher entered the "News" home page (http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/) and

evaluated its hypertext headlines for stories found in the print edition. Besides evaluating

headlines on the "News" home page, the researcher investigated subsections contained in

the "News" home page navigation bar. This included examining the hypertext headlines

contained in the "Regional" section home page (http://www.orlandosentinel/news/

local/regional/), the "State" section home page (http://www.orlandosentinel/news

/local/regional/) and the Nation/World section homepage

(http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/nationworld/).

The Ocala Star-Banner online contains a more basic site structure than the Sentinel

and thus required less intensive inquiry to find print stories that were not found with the

search function. The home page (http://www.starbanner.com/) offered three featured









headlines with the beginning of the articles and 10 hypertext headlines under the label

"AP Top Stories" which are updated periodically. These hypertext headlines were

searched first. The researcher then examined the "News" section

(http://www.starbanner.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=NEWS), which offered

hypertext headlines for local, state, national and global news.

Only after these steps failed to produce an online version of the print story would

the researcher concede that it was not included in the Internet edition of the newspaper.

The researcher did not count Interet-exclusive stories for two reasons. First, as

McMillian (2000) pointed out, the Internet is a constantly changing medium, one which

does not rely on static dates or times to produce stories or editions. There is also no

established time frame for which online stories remain posted in the online edition.

Without means of ensuring consistency among articles, the researcher could not promise

replicable results when finding Interet-exclusive articles.

The second reason is the process of gatekeeping, which evaluates the properties of

goods before and after passing through a channel or gate region. The channel in this

study separates the print edition story from the online story. The story appearing only in

the Internet edition never passed through this channel and therefore offers no comparable

counterpart appearing in the print edition. For these reasons, the researcher used a one-

way model of finding stories appearing in both editions.



Sampling Procedure

During this composite week, both the print and online editions of the selected

newspapers will be analyzed. Every current-day news story will be coded; sports, arts,










entertainment, lifestyle, business, travel, general feature sections, weather and advertising

sections will be ignored. Artwork that accompanies selected news stories will be counted

as well. The following will be coded:


* The newspaper where the story appeared. This consisted of two values with two

possible entries.


1. Sentinel
2. Star-Banner




* The edition where the story appeared. This consisted of two values with two

possible entries.


Print
Internet


* The date of the article, expressed in month, day and year of publication. Also

recorded was the day of the week. Where xx=month, yy=day, zzzz=year,


xx/yy/zzzz


* The type of images) that accompanied the story. The following values were

recorded:


1. Photograph
2. Cartoon
3. Infographic









4. Composite Image
5. Photograph and Infographic
6. Photograph and Composite Image
7. None
8. Photograph, Composite Image and Infographic
9. Infographic and Composite Image




* The source of the images) that accompanied the story. The following values were

recorded -entries with multiple sources indicate multiple images and sources.

When an article contained two or more images, the researcher coded the source for

each and the results required multiple categories for image source.


1. Staff
2. Wire Service or Syndicate
3. Contributor
4. Another Newspaper
5. Staff and Wire Service/Syndicate
6. Government (Police photos, NASA, etc.)
7. None
8. Staff and Contributor
9. Staff and Government



* The geographic emphasis of the story. This was divided into five categories: metro

(about something inside the county in which the newspaper is located); state (inside

Florida but outside the newspaper's home county); national (a national story,

outside of Florida); international (any story outside the United States). Some stories

could ultimately be coded in multiple categories; for example, the Elian Gonzalez

saga in 1999 was simultaneously an international, national and state story. In a case










of multiple locales, the story will be coded for each of the locations. The following


values were recorded


entries with multiple sources indicate multiple images and


sources.


1. Global
2. National
3. State
4. Metro


5. Metro and State
6. Metro, State and National
7. State and National
8. National and Global
9. Metro and Global
10. Metro, National and Global
11. Metro, State, National and Global




* The source of the article's written content, or the writer's or reporter's affiliation.

The following values were recorded.





1. Staff
2. Wire Service/Syndicate
3. Contributor
4. Another Newspaper









* The headline that accompanied the article. The print headline was first recorded

verbatim and then compared to the headline presented on the Internet edition (if

applicable). This required three values.


1. Print headline
2. Online headline same
3. Online headline different




* Six categories were created for online-only content which could not appear in print

format. These included video, audio, poll, interactive graphic, "E-mail story"

option and photo gallery. Each of these were recorded separately in the following

format.


1. None
2. Present



Data Analysis

Utilizing the widely used statistical software program, Statistical Package for the

Social Sciences (SPSS), the researcher employed chi-square tests to measure levels of

statistical significance.

Chi-square tests are used to describe relationships between variables by using a null

hypothesis (Babbie, 2001). The null hypothesis is defined by Babbie (2001) as "the

assumption that there is no relationship between two variables in the total population."

By accounting for the null hypothesis, the chi-square test reveals the likelihood that the

relationship between variables is real. The calculation of chi-square is based on the

comparison between expected and obtained frequencies and is used to "determine the









probability that the discovered discrepancy could have resulted from sampling error

alone" (Babbie, p. 487).

Tests of significance are commonly followed by an expressed level of

significance. The level of significance is the probability that the association between

variables could have been produced by sampling error, as opposed to what are considered

genuine scientific relationships. For example, a significance level of .05 denotes that an

association "as large as the observed one could not be expected to result from sampling

error more than 5 times out of 100" (Babbie, p. 492). The significance level used in this

study is less than .05 and permits the researcher to discard the null hypothesis at the 95%

level.















CHAPTER 4
RESULTS


This study sought to compare content of articles appearing in the online and print

edition of two newspapers in unique communities by asking the following research

questions: Is there a relationship between geographical location of content and edition of

the newspaper (print versus online)? Is this relationship affected by market (metropolitan

versus rural)? Is there a relationship between use of staff and non-staff content and

edition of the newspaper (print versus online?) Is this relationship affected by market

(metropolitan versus rural)? Is there a relationship between graphical content and edition

of the newspaper (print versus online?) Is this relationship affected by market

(metropolitan versus rural)? Is there a relationship between headline content and edition

of the newspaper (print versus online)? Is this relationship affected by market

(metropolitan versus rural)?

When examining these questions, the researcher examined the content of articles

in two sections, front and local, of newspapers varying in circulation volume and

corporate ownership. The researcher then searched for the articles in the online edition of

each newspaper. During the composite week of examination, the final story count for

both editions of both newspapers was 743. The print story count was 418 full-length

articles. Of these, 325 (77.8%) were offered in the online edition of the two newspapers.

The Orlando Sentinel's story count during the composite week of examination totaled









444 articles for both its print and online edition. The Ocala Star-Banner story count

during the same period totaled 299 articles for both editions.

The relationship between the individual newspapers and amount of content

present in the print edition and repurposed content for online use is important to examine.

If there is a significant difference in content between markets, this study would not be

able to compare the two newspapers with statistical validity. The findings indicate no

significant difference between the two newspapers studied. While a modest increase in

story count was evident in the larger market (Orlando), there is no evidence that this

varies because of market size. Because the difference between the two newspapers is

negligible in story counts in both editions, it allows for valid comparison.

Table 4.1: Print and online story count by market
Print % Online % Total %
Orlando 252 60.29 192 59.08 444 59.76
Ocala 166 39.71 133 40.92 299 40.24
Total 418 100.00 325 100.00 743 100.00
Chi square = .0111347030396494, df= 1, not significant

Localization of Editions

The first research question examined the emphasis on geographic region in the

print and Internet editions of both newspapers. As Singer (200 a) noted, the Internet is

perceived as a niche medium and the newspaper Web site offers the editor the

opportunity to provide unique local news on an international platform. The current study

sought to examine the relationship between location of story and redistribution of articles

from the print to the online edition of the Ocala Star-Banner and Orlando Sentinel.

When story location was compared with the edition (print and online) and the

individual newspaper, the relationship was statistically significant -- the geographic

location of the story does have a relationship to the story selection of online content. The









difference between the variables is strongest when looking at the Sentinel results, where

residual analysis shows a strong relationship between its print and online edition content

when looking at geographic location of stories. The greatest residual difference (-13.78)

exists in the value of the Sentinel's online global content, meaning that stories of a global

subject are less likely to be repurposed in the online edition than stories with a more

proximate geographic emphasis. This relationship continued when looking at the

Sentinel's online national content, which contained a residual value (-11.56) that

indicates fewer national stories were made available online than expected. Residual

analysis of the Sentinel's state (10.09) and metropolitan stories (5.77) demonstrated an

figure that exceeded expected values, which indicates more state and metropolitan stories

were made available than expected.

The geographic stratification of articles appearing in the Star-Banner does not

follow the pattern of providing more local content in the online edition. When looking at

residual analysis of global (6.98) and national articles (4.51), there exist a greater number

of articles than the expected value. Residual analysis of the state (-5.26) and

metropolitan articles (-0.06) show a value that falls below the expected number of stories.

The findings show that while the Sentinel's online content included more

metropolitan and state stories than expected, the Star-Banner reproduced fewer state and

metropolitan articles than expected. It appears that the NAA's largest circulation group

exhibit significant differences in geography of articles appearing in both the online and

print edition. At the smaller circulation newspaper a less-significant difference exists

between the two editions.


















Table 4.2: Geographic location of story by market and edition
Orlando Orlando Ocala Print Ocala Total
Print Online Online
Global 41 18 35 29 123
% 33.33 14.63 28.46 23.58 100.00
National 77 44 51 43 215
% 35.81 20.47 23.72 20.00 100.00
State 61 61 45 30 197
% 30.96 30.96 22.84 15.23 100.00
Metro 38 36 22 21 117
% 32.48 30.77 18.80 17.95 100.00
Multiple 35 33 13 10 91
% 38.46 36.26 14.29 10.99 100.00
Total 252 192 166 133 743
% 33.92 25.84 22.34 17.90 100.00
Chi square = 28.2011616882942, df= 12, P <.05, significant

Reliance on Non-Staff Content

The second research question asked if there exists a relationship between use of

staff and non-staff content and edition of the newspaper (print versus online) and if this

relationship affected by market (metropolitan versus rural). This was measured using

two variables: First, the writer's affiliation (newspaper staff, wire service staff, or non-

staff contributor), and secondly, the source of photographs or graphic work

accompanying the article (staff, wire service, non-staff contributor, government source).

When both editions are counted, stories by writers not on the newspaper's staff

totaled 443 (59.6%), while stories by writers affiliated with the newspaper totaled 300


1 "Multiple" includes articles with more than one geographic classification, including Metro and State,
Metro, State and National, State and National, National and Global, Metro and Global, Metro, National and
Global, and Metro, State, National and Global









(40.4%). When looking at the source of stories within each edition, the contrast becomes

more apparent. As displayed in Table 4.3, the distribution of staff and non-staff material

across editions is substantial. Residuals for the Sentinel's print edition demonstrate a

greater-than-expected value of staff-written material (17.26) and a less-than-expected

value for non-staff material (-17.26). When looking at the Sentinel's online edition, the

residuals for the staff-written content (39.48) and non-staff-written content (-39.48) are

both considerable. This shows that while both editions of the Sentinel show a preference

for staff-written material, the online edition reproduces staff content much more

frequently than non-staff content.

The Star-Banner exhibits significant differences in the source of written content as

well. But where the Sentinel's online edition displayed more staff content, both the print

and online editions of the Star-Banner displayed greater proportion of non-staff material

compared to its staff content. Residual analysis of the print edition shows values of staff-

written material (-31.03) that do not meet expected value and non-staff material (31.03)

that exceeds expected value. Analysis of the online edition demonstrate a similar

relationship, with residuals below expected value for staff-written material (-25.70) but

above expected value for the non-staff material (25.70). This demonstrates that while

neither edition matches expected values of staff content, the Star-Banner online edition is

less dependent on non-staff material than the print edition.











Table 4.3: Article source by market and edition
Staff % Non- % Total %
staff2
Orlando 119 39.66 133 30.02 252 33.92
Print
Orlando 117 39.00 75 16.93 192 25.84
Online
Ocala 36 12.00 130 29.35 166 22.34
Print
Ocala 28 9.33 105 23.70 133 17.90
Online
Total 300 100.00 443 100.00 743 100.00
Chi square = 83.3379375665623, df= 3, P =.001, significant


Like the written content, the graphical content contained in both editions was more

likely to have been produced by a non-staff source than by the newspaper staff. Stories

with non-staff graphics constituted 21.66% of the entire sample, but within editions of

individual newspapers this distribution varied greatly. While the print edition relied

heavily on non-staff produced graphics at both newspapers, neither newspaper

reproduced a substantial number of non-staff graphics in the online edition. Residual

analysis of Table 4.4 supports this statement: Sentinel non-staff graphics in the print

edition (5.66) exceeded the expected value, while the non-staff graphics in the online

edition (-16.40) fell far below the expected value; Star-Banner non-staff graphics in the

print edition (24.20) far exceeding the expected value, while non-staff graphics in the

online edition (-13.46) fell below the expected value. This shows that the source of

graphics accompanying articles in the print edition differ from the source of graphics in

the online edition articles. It also appears that while both staff-produced- and non-staff-

produced graphics reduced in number when stories were transferred online, non-staff


2 "Non-staff' includes all sources not listed as newspaper staff, including Wire service and syndicate
articles, articles by contributors to the newspaper, and articles from other newspapers










produced graphics were less likely to reappear in the online edition than graphics

produced by the newspaper staff.

Table 4.4: Graphic source b edition and market
Staff Non-staff Combination4 None Total
Orlando 35 60 6 151 252
Print
% 42.68 37.27 24.00 31.79 33.92
Orlando 24 25 19 124 192
Online
% 29.27 15.53 76.00 26.10 25.84
Ocala Print 15 60 0 91 166
% 18.29 37.27 0.00 19.16 22.34
Ocala 8 16 0 109 133
Online
% 9.76 9.94 0.00 22.95 17.90
Total 82 161 25 475 743
% 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00
Chi square = 80.6193047840931, df= 9, p =.001, significant


Use of Photographs and Artwork

The use of artwork and images in the print and online editions was the focus of the

third research question of the current study. Already discussed was the frequency of the

sources of graphics in both editions; this section deals with the prevalence of the types of

graphics used in each edition. To measure this variable, the researcher classified

graphical content appearing in each article of both editions. The types of graphics

appearing in both editions were categorized as photographs, infographics, composite

images and cartoons. Since no cartoons appeared in the sample, this category will be

excluded from the following analysis.


3 "Non-staff' includes all graphic sources not listed as newspaper staff, including Wire service and
syndicate graphics, graphics by contributors to the newspaper, graphics from other newspapers and
graphics from government sources

4 "Combination" includes all articles that had graphics from multiple sources, including Staff and wire
service/syndicate, staff and government, and staff and contributor









When looking at the use of graphics it is important to first examine the distribution

between the two newspapers. Both newspapers' print editions contained more stories

without graphics than stories containing graphics and this reflects on the graphic use in

stories appearing in the online edition. Both newspapers offered visual content in almost

a third of all stories, and the majority of stories within both newspapers offered no in-

story graphics.

The relationship is altered when looking at stories in the individual online and print

formats. In the both newspapers the number of stories with photographic content

decreased significantly when moving from the print to the online format. The Sentinel's

residual analysis of the print edition (16.84) and online edition (-16.84) demonstrates that

stories containing photographs in the print edition did not usually contain photographs in

the online edition. The Star-Banner showed a similar, but stronger relationship.

Residual analysis shows the print edition (17.55) offering more photographic content than

the online edition (-17.55), while stories with no graphical content was far more prevalent

in the online edition (-23.27) than in the print edition (23.27). This shows that stories

with photographs in the print edition appear without photographs in the online edition.














Table 4.5: Type of graphic by newspa er edition and market
Print % Online % Total %
Orlando 90 21.53 40 12.31 130 17.50
Photograph
Orlando 18 4.31 30 9.23 48 6.46
Other5
Orlando 144 34.45 122 37.54 266 35.80
None
Ocala 71 16.99 24 7.39 95 12.79
Photograph
Ocala 8 1.91 0 0.00 8 1.08
Other6
Ocala 87 20.81 109 33.54 196 26.38
None
Total 418 100.00 325 100.00 743 100.00
Chi square = 46.8659442579277, df= 5, p <0.001, significant

Headline Relationship

The fourth research question sought to examine the similarity between headlines

appearing in the print edition and the online edition of the two selected newspapers. To

measure this variable, the researcher first recorded the article headline as it appeared in

the print edition and then compared its phrasing with the headline appearing in the online

edition. As Table 4.6 shows, among the stories reproduced in the online edition, the great

majority of headlines matched verbatim. Of 325 articles appearing in both editions, only

8 online articles used an original headline to accompany its written content. This


5 "Other" graphic types include all multi-format and non-photograph graphics including Cartoon,
infographic, composite image, photograph and infographic, photograph and composite image, photograph,
composite image and infographic, and composite image and infographic

6 "Other" graphic types include all multi-format and non-photograph graphics including Cartoon,
infographic, composite image, photograph and infographic, photograph and composite image, photograph,
composite image and infographic, and composite image and infographic






41


relationship, however, lacks statistical significance between editions and between

markets.


Table 4.6: Headline appearance by newspa er market
Print % Online % Online % Total %
Headline Headline Headline
Same Different
Orlando 252 60.23 187 58.99 5 62.50 444 59.78
Ocala 166 39.77 130 41.01 3 37.50 299 41.22
Total 418 100.00 317 100.00 8 100.00 743 100.00


Chi square = 0.15131120724963, df


2, p < 1, not significant

















CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION

The purpose of this study was to investigate the variation of content among the

online and print editions of two central Florida newspapers. The research questions

asked the following: Is there a relationship between geographical location of content and

edition of the newspaper (print versus online)? Is this relationship affected by market

(metropolitan versus rural)? Is there a relationship between use of staff and non-staff

content and edition of the newspaper (print versus online?) Is this relationship affected

by market (metropolitan versus rural)? Is there a relationship between graphical content

and edition of the newspaper (print versus online?) Is this relationship affected by market

(metropolitan versus rural)? Is there a relationship between headline content and edition

of the newspaper (print versus online)? Is this relationship affected by market

(metropolitan versus rural)? A sample of the Orlando Sentinel and the Ocala Star-Banner

was collected during a composite week during March 2003. Both frequency and cross-

tabulation analyses were employed to answer the research questions. To determine

statistical significance, Chi-square tests were performed on the cross-tabulation tables.

Discussion of Results

The results demonstrated that among the two selected newspapers, a substantial

difference exists between the content presented in the online and print editions. During

the composite week period, each edition of the newspapers presented unique geographic

emphasis, different amounts of staff and non-staff produced stories and graphics, as well









as types of graphical content. Headlines were found to be almost identical in

presentation.

When comparing the localization of online and print content, this study showed

that both newspapers focused on different geographical areas for online content. Content

originally appearing in the Sentinel print edition and redistributed to the online edition

was more likely to cover local and state issues rather than global or international issues or

subject matter. The Star-Banner's online content was concentrated on stories of a global

and national subject matter, rather than the more localized online content exhibited by the

Sentinel. This distinction is important because while the Sentinel followed the

expectations of previous research (Singer, 2001a), the Star-Banner demonstrated that

some newspapers do not necessarily place a greater local emphasis of online content.

Because of this distinction it appears that story geographic location is a selection

criterion for online distribution. For the Sentinel, the more localized the story, the more

likely it is to appear in the online edition; and conversely, for the Star-Banner, the less

localized, the greater the likelihood of an article appearing in the online edition. This

allows for important considerations of both audiences. Because the Sentinel audience is

exposed to a proportionately greater amount of local coverage and the print audience is

exposed to more global coverage, it would follow that each audience has a different

conception of what is "newsworthy" and perhaps a more localized social reality. The

Star-Banner's audience online would have a less-localized social reality compared to its

print audience.

While the source of both graphical and written content in both newspapers leaned

toward non-staff content in both editions, differences existed in the redistribution rates of









both written and graphical content. The source of written content appears to have

affected selection for online distribution in the two newspapers, as stories reproduced

online were more likely to be written by a staff reporter than a non-staff writer. This is

true for stories with graphics, as well. While many articles were stripped of graphical

content when placed online, it was more likely that a staff-produced graphic would be

redistributed than non-staff graphical material.

There are three plausible explanations for this relationship. First, the editors

intentionally focus the online material on local issues, which happen to be covered by

staff reporters. Secondly, the required manpower of placement of articles on the Internet

may prohibit a complete replication of the print edition. Third, costs of distributing wire

service and syndicate content online may discourage redistribution of non-staff material.

The use of different types of artwork and graphical content also were dissimilar in

the two editions. While the majority of stories lacked accompanying graphics in both

formats, photographs were the most common type of graphic used and were more

commonly displayed in the print edition than the online edition. Despite lacking the strict

space limitations found in the print edition, the online edition did not display additional

graphics. This may be explained by the lack of resources devoted to the online staff

(Singer et al, 1999).

Headlines appearing in the online edition nearly always matched the print edition's

headline. Of the 325 stories appearing in both editions, only 8 stories (2.5%) contained

headlines that did not repeat the print headline verbatim. The level of homogeneity

between headlines of each edition suggests the use of content management system

applications to place stories in the online edition. The headline being an essential









element of the news article, the lack of variation among the two editions reinforces the

established criticism of online news being simply "shovelware."

Implications of Study

The process of media gatekeeping, which dictates what information is channeled

to the public, is essential in the functioning in a democratic culture. Because democracy

relies upon informed citizens to advance public policy, the media's gatekeeping is one

means of judging public exposure to issues and news events in society. Past research

(Singer, 200 la; Gubman and Greer, 1997) has demonstrated a unique function of online

newspapers when compared to the print edition. These studies have criticized the amount

of "shovelware" in the online edition and the amount of content repurposed from the print

edition. This criticism contends that since Internet editions lack much original content,

the newspapers' online editors fail to utilize the interactive and multimedia capabilities of

the Web and do not facilitate the gatekeeping function to inform the public of important

societal issues.

The current study is exploratory in nature and has several implications in regards

to the field of converged journalism and the ongoing transition from printed newspapers

to newspapers presented on the Internet. First, based on this study's results, it seems the

process of online "shovelware" is as prevalent as ever. Stories that were repurposed to

the Internet edition often varied little from the print edition other than the medium of

which the information was passed. This supports the findings of Singer (200 la) and

suggests that online editors are not fully utilizing the interactive and multimedia

capabilities offered by the medium. The headlines were mostly identical; the

photographs were mostly not transferred to the online edition; only major stories









generated interactive features and these were repurposed from other stories and other

newspapers.

These findings suggest an evolving notion of newspaper gatekeeping. Beyond

deciding what information is granted to the public, the Internet allows editors to choose

how to present newsworthy information. The online news story allows the capability to

include additional photographic, textual and multimedia content that is not viable in the

print edition, providing the audience with an expanded reality of what constitutes a news

story.

This study is significant on two levels. First, it demonstrates that stories appearing

in both print and online editions show little difference in the written content and often

limits photographic content. Headlines and story content varied little between the online

and print formats. Photographs accompanying stories appeared more frequently in the

print format than the online format, despite the Internet's less restrictive space

limitations. The "gate" from the print to the online format is primarily a geographic filter

that allows much local and state content to appear while serving as a barrier to less-local

news being redistributed online. The "gate" also filters the source of content,

reproducing most staff content while limiting the redistribution of non-staff material. On

this basic level, the online gatekeeper is concerned with simple replication from print to

online format, while considering factors that determine a story's reproduction.

On another level, the online gatekeeper plays an important role in dictating, in the

case of significant news, how the story is told. The Shuttle Columbia story appearing in

the online Sentinel demonstrates this finding. The Columbia story had many local angles

from the Orlando area and generated 19 articles during the seven-day content analysis.









All 19 were reproduced in the online edition, representing 9.9% of all online content

replicated from the print edition of the Sentinel. Each online Columbia article was

accompanied with a photo gallery, video content, an interactive graphic and a "mail-to"

link, none of which were offered in the print edition. These features allowed a matchless

format, providing the audience and public with a truly multimedia understanding of the

event. In the case of the Columbia story, the repurposed content was textual and

photographic; however, multimedia and interactive content supplemented this material.

This demonstrates the gatekeeping role of the online journalists at the Sentinel

surpasses simple replication of the print edition. While the majority of articles online

lack interactive features, certain subjects offer opportunities to expand coverage beyond

what is capable at traditional media outlets. This manifestation of gatekeeping suggests

an additional gate present at online newspapers, a gate determining whether a story

deserves expanded interactive coverage or textual replication from the print edition.

Limitations of Study

The study has several limitations, the first of which is its small sample size. Most

studies examine more than two newspapers to generate findings of value and statistical

significance. This restriction threatens the external validity of the study and its larger

application. A study lacking external validity cannot be projected to other populations.

In this case, the results of the study are not applicable to other online and print

newspapers of the circulation range of the Star-Banner and Sentinel. The two

newspapers only apply to two -50,000 to 100,000 and more than 250,000 -of the four

NAA circulation categories.

Another limitation is the method used for data collection. Because the analysis

only included the front and local/state sections, it cannot be generalized to the









newspapers and their online websites in totality. Editorial, sports, entertainment and

other sections may demonstrate different results of the gatekeeping process. While this

study thoroughly examined the specified material, the scope could be increased both

within the selected newspapers and in the number of newspapers examined.

Suggestions for Further Research

While this study contained weaknesses in regard to external validity, it succeeded

in adding to the literature of online gatekeeping and offers opportunities for further

research. Ideally, a study of online newspaper content would include a sample that

incorporates all national regions, newspaper circulation sizes and major ownership

groups. While this would be difficult, a study examining a larger sample of any of these

categories would result in greater generalization among the specified population.

The study of ownership groups would provide findings to distinguish to levels of

interactive and multimedia content among different media companies. An examination

of newspaper circulation sizes could investigate the relationship between circulation size

and the amount and forms of content available online. A study looking at newspapers in

unique regions could examine the focus of online content in relation to community and

regional issues.

Beyond simply increasing the scope of the population sample, further research

could investigate the online-only content at daily newspapers. Because each media

organization has unique management and publication philosophies, online content varies

among each organization. This could be examined for a number of variables: multi-

media content, interactive content, community elements and the distribution of content

among different newspapers within the organization.









Further research could also investigate how decisions are made within the

newspaper management about what content is included online and what is withheld. This

could include a survey of editors' use of content management programs to transfer stories

to the online edition.

Conclusion

When considering the process of gatekeeping at journalism organizations, it is rare

to find an example of a study that examines the process occurring between two forms of

media. Past studies analyzed gatekeeping at the individual decision-making level

(Garrison, 1980; Gieber, 1960; Shoemaker, 1991) or at the communications routine level

(Martin, 1998; Shoemaker & Reese, 1991). This study analyzed the gatekeeping process

across different media with similar content ownership by following the model established

by Singer (2001a).

Gatekeeping provided an appropriate model to compare the content of the

newspapers' original model of information transmission (print) to the online model of

transmission. Using Lewin's (1947b) model of transference of goods between channels,

this study was conducted to compare the content of the online and print editions of two

central Florida newspapers. The purpose of this study was to explore the different

representations of news content provided to the consumers of online and print versions of

the newspapers.

The results demonstrated a considerable dissimilarity between the online and print

editions of the two newspapers and the possible existence of a "gate" that dictates which

content is distributed online and which remains as print-only. While one newspaper

chose to focus online content on local and state issues, another focused on more global

and national issues. The newspapers also differed on the distribution of the sources of









graphical and written content. But at both newspapers, some elements changed little

from the print edition -the headlines were reproduced nearly always verbatim and little

original content existed in the online edition.

These findings offer important implications for the consumers of these news

sources. While examining only a fraction of newspapers and media in general, this study

does show that factors can determine what content is transferred across platforms. With

emerging technologies, news content becomes increasingly converged and content

becomes more easily redistributed between different media. This study provides only a

glimpse of current sharing of information between media.
















APPENDIX
SAMPLE CODING SHEET



News story identification #: #



Media Source:

1. Orlando Sentinel

2. Ocala Star-Banner



Newspaper Edition:

1. Print

2. Internet


News story dated: Month



Headline:








News Story First Sentence:


Year

















Type(s) of images) accompanying story: a.




1. Photograph

2. Cartoon

3. Infographic

4. Composite image

5. None




Image sourcess: a. b. c.

1. Staff


2. Syndicate or wire service (Associated Press, New York Times, Scripps Howard,


3. Contributor


4. Another newspaper:

5. Parent company

6. None




Types of interactive features accompanying online story


(note all applicable):


a. b.

1. Video


c. d.


e. f










2. Audio

3. "E-mail to" option

4. Photo gallery

5. Forum

6. Interactive graphics

7. Poll

8. None


Geography of story (note all applicable): a.

1. Outside of United States

2. Inside U.S.; outside Florida

3. Florida

4. None




Dateline (city, state):


Story writer name:




Writer source:



1. Staff

2. Wire service or syndicate (Associated Press, New York Times, Scripps Howard,










3. Contributor

4. None
















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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH


Matthew D. Blake was born in Evanston, Illinois, in 1976. He spent his early

childhood in Madison, Wisconsin, before moving to Missoula, Montana, where he lived

for much of his upbringing. In 1998, Blake graduated from the University of Wisconsin

Madison, where he earned a Bachelor of Science and majored in political science.

Blake has instructed two Internet communications classes during his tenure at the

University of Florida, as well as creating Web sites for clients at the university and

beyond. His research interests include online communications and popular music history.

Blake begins the doctoral program at the University of Florida's College of Journalism

and Communications in Fall 2003.