Buried in the backyard: a study of locally generated content in small U.S. newspapers

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Date

2010-05

Authors

Funk, Marcus James

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Abstract

Locally generated content comprises nearly 80% of front page content for most American newspapers, with Associated Press and other wire service content comprising between 15% and 20% across various circulation categories. However, newspapers with daily circulation between 30,000 and 50,000 provide a sharp distinction – a “curve” or “groove” – publishing an average of barely 60% locally generated content on their front page, pulling nearly 40% from wire services. The anomaly declines somewhat for publications with daily circulation between 50,000 and 100,000. This statistical content analysis of 42 American newspapers of diverse circulation sizes also reveals a universal focus on domestic politics, which comprises nearly a third of all locally generated and wire content, and reveals key commonalities across circulation categories and regional boundaries.

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