Concentration and consolidation : how chain ownership affects newspaper front-page content
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Ownership by newspaper chains in the United States has become the norm, rather than the outlier, in the past half-century. While proponents of this model of ownership claim that chain newspapers are no different from independently owned papers in terms of their dedication to local coverage, research has consistently shown that newspapers that are part of a group are more likely to converge in their editorial opinions and syndicate news articles among their holdings, suggesting that chain ownership has a profound effect on the outcomes of city newspapers' content. Those effects have likely accelerated in an era when newspaper chains are increasingly cutting newsroom staff and relying more heavily on consolidating production resources. Through a quantitative content analysis of front pages downloaded from Newseum.org, this research study investigates the relationship between the size of newspapers' parent companies and the amount of original news content on their front pages. This study was able to conclude that in general, newspapers owned by larger chains had smaller proportions of original news on their front pages, and newspaper chains had smaller proportions of original news in states where they had a higher concentration of ownership.
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