This study explores the economic crisis in the newspaper industry and its implications for the enduring needs citizens have from the media for effective participation in democracy in our changing media environment. A conceptual framework orienting the place of newspapers at the heart of a vibrant public sphere provides a basis for arguing that having meaningful diversity in the marketplace of ideas today is directly tied to the preservation of a robust and diverse body of newspaper journalism organizations. An empirical study assesses the prospects for maintaining a diverse system of newspaper journalism in the online media environment based on assessments of two forms diversity: source diversity and audience exposure diversity. Findings in this study reveal that audience exposure diversity among the growing online newspaper readership is significantly lower than audience exposure diversity for newspapers in their traditional format. Prospects for a better networked public sphere for the democratic needs of citizens from the press will depend on identifying a viable economic model to support a system of journalism organizations within the new media environment that retains the adequate source diversity and the traditionally high standards for public affairs news quality that have long been characteristic of newspaper journalism.
University of Minnesota M.A. thesis. July 2011. Major: Mass Communication. Advisor: Dan Sullivan. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 92 pages, appendices A-B.
Ernste, Thomas John.
The enduring importance of newspaper journalism in a networked information economy..
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