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Multimedia and Interactivity on Newspaper
A Multi-Study Analysis of Six English-Speaking
Online Journalism Symposium 2010
Problem/Purpose of study
Shortage of studies which compare different countries
Different methodologies used in various studies makes
true country-to-country comparisons problematic
Goal: To examine several countries using a similar
Brief Literature Overview
Some key newspaper website studies:
• Peng et al 1999 survey and 80-site analysis
• Greer & Mensing’s 1997-2003 U.S. longitudinal study
• Sparks, Young and Darnell 2003 analysis of 113 Canadian news
• Bivings Group’s 2006 Top 100 circulation U.S. papers
• Hashim et al 2007 study of 12 Australian newspapers
• Russial’s 2009 survey of 210 U.S. daily newspapers
RQ1: What are the levels of interactivity and multimedia within
the individual countries?
RQ2: What impact does circulation have on presence of
RQ3: How do these countries compare in their newspapers’ use
RQ4: Is there a connection between computer
ownership/broadband in the countries and their newspapers’ use
of these features?
Looked at top six English-speaking countries where
English was the first/dominant language: U.S., UK,
Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand
Survey methodology (a la Russial) was considered, but
dismissed: Concerns over response rate, reliable contact
information, cost, time
Chosen method: One-pass website analysis employed by
Bivings Group, Darnell/Sparks/Young
Team reviewed literature, examined websites to create 25-feature taxonomy for
U.S. 2007 study; added 7 features in 2008 study of the other countries
Compiled lists of newspapers for each country from Editor and Publisher directory
Used random sampling of U.S. papers (360, every fourth, of 1437 U.S. dailies),
with a +/- 4.5% margin of error
Used all of newspapers from other countries, eliminating duplicate sites (Note: only
12/60 Australian papers coded in time window)
Conducted pilot/inter-rater reliability test (95% in 2007; 96% in 2008) of 10
Coded data over a one-month period
Connection Between Computer
In some countries, there seems to be a direct connection between
computer ownership/broadband and the ability and motivation for
newspapers to put multimedia and interactivity on their websites. Ex:
Ukraine with 1.7% broadband penetration in 2008, had very little
multimedia especially in a 2009 study:
Connection Between Computer
• Not much of a connection in English-speaking
• U.S./U.K. numbers were fairly similar in many
--Too little difference in CO/BP to judge, esp
given year gap
• Canada, with highest % of computer ownership
and higher than U.S. broadband, had some of the
lowest rates of multimedia/interactivity
• New Zealand did show some connection, with
the lowest rates of CO/BP and also the lowest
amount of multimedia/interactivity
So what explains the difference?
• Economic Factors: Resources
• Economic Factors: Ownership/chains
• Social Factors--Computer usage and
expectations of users
• Focus of management
• Journalism education/training
Limitations of study/Future research
Weakness of content analysis vs survey
One-pass vs multipass—might not have
viewed site on typical day
Redo study in 2011, looking at all sites
during the same period for equal comparison
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