Print v. Online…what are we missing?

March 4, 2010 • Digital News, Ethics and Quality • by

Study analyzes distinction between newspapers and online news.

Hoping to shed light on what newspaper readers stand to lose or gain by moving online, Scott Maier, a researcher and professor of journalism at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communications, questions the discrepancies in print and online reportage in a new study published in the Newspaper Research Journal.

Analyzing 13,000 news stories from 2007, Maier’s study compares content appearing on five prominent news sites (Yahoo! News,,, Google News and AOL News) with front page content  published in 13 daily U.S. newspapers varying in location and circulation size.

While both print and Web news sites were found to generally cover the same topics, traditional newspapers offered stories with more breadth and depth than their online competitors, publishing stories approximately twice as long.  Additionally, newspapers cranked out twice as much domestic content, with heftier coverage in the areas of business, the environment, health and immigration.  However to their credit, online news outlets provided a broader international focus and greater devotion to analysis and opinion.

Beyond examining the extent to which print and online news sites differ, Maier assesses the agenda-setting function of both mediums, questioning story authorship, geographic focus and story placement.

Read more at AEJMC.

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