Analyzing content deviance in American community journalism websites and social media

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2013-12

Authors

Funk, Marcus James

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Abstract

This dissertation explores deviance, operationalized through news factors, among American community weekly, community daily, large daily, and national daily newspaper websites and social media posts. Computerized quantitative analysis indicates that circulation size makes little to no significant difference concerning the publication of deviant news factors; smaller circulation sizes are significantly related to the publication of news concerning local communities, but not egalitarian news factors generally. Qualitative, structured interviews of community newspaper editors and publishers illustrate a different agenda - a clear focus for news on "regular people and routine events," arguably egalitarianism, over news on "unusual people or extraordinary events," arguably deviance. This indicates a need for further evaluation and development of computerized content analysis, gatekeeping theory, and the community newspaper industry. Results also suggest a need to reconsider and re-evaluate normative deviance as a concept and point to two potential theoretical developments: considering a Deviant-Egalitarian Spectrum and drastically broadening the current fringe focus of deviance research.

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