The Newspaper Industry in a Changing Landscape The Shift in News Content of Various Newspapers as a Response to the Rise of Social Media
- Neil Shen
This paper examines the association between the rise of social media and the types of news content produced by newspaper outlets. Over the past two decades, the rise of social media has precipitated a decline in the role of traditional newspaper outlets. I present two hypotheses and their ensuing rationale – hypothesis one describes how newspapers may increase hard news content to further consolidate their reader base, while hypothesis two postulates that hard news content will decrease as papers try to regain the readers they lost to social media. Data was collected from two reputable and two less-reputable newspaper outlets to see how they reacted to increases in social media usage and whether their responses varied. For each newspaper outlet, the author identified the number of articles that included keywords drawn from hard news and soft news word banks. Using a ratio of hard to soft news, regression analysis was then performed. After running regression analysis with trend data from the Pew Research Center on the number of US adults with social media accounts, results indicate a moderate negative correlation amongst the two more reputable newspapers and no correlation amongst less reputable newspapers, meaning that the more reputable newspapers tended to decrease hard news content as social media became more popular.