The Form of Reports on U.S. Newspaper Internet Sites

By Kevin G. Barnhurst

A paper by Kevin G. Barnhurst, fall 2001 fellow, argues that U.S. newspapers that publish electronic editions on the Internet do not appear to reinvent themselves online. Instead the Web versions reproduce the substance of their print editions in a way that relates similarly to readers. Reaching stories on line can be a process involving multiple screen jumps and scrolls, and only a few stories have added features, such as hyper-links to additional information, images, or interactive resources. Newspaper stories online differ very little from those printed in the originating newspapers. The Internet versions do not usually add to or change the text of the stories, and their visual presentation is spare, especially compared to print, which has a richer typographical range and presents many more images. The results suggest that print publishers use their Internet presence as a low-cost place holder that guards their U.S. market position and erects a barrier to the entry of geographical competitors and ideological alternatives in the U.S. news arena.

Download the paper (PDF).