Can the Internet Help Preserve Journalism? Sense of Community Differences among Print and Online Local News Consumers Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Mersey, Rachel Davis
    • Affiliation: Hussman School of Journalism and Media
  • This dissertation, a survey of a random sample of 1,171 adults living in Maricopa County, Ariz., seeks insight into the changing relationship between news and geographically defined communities by focusing on two local news products, The Arizona Republic and It is rooted in the widely held belief that there is a virtuous cycle linking print newspaper readership to sense of community in a manner that enhances social capital and attempts to determine the nature of this relationship in light of online media advancements including hyperlocal news and Web logs. To measure this community connection, this work draws together concepts from social identity theory and psychological sense of community research, suggesting empirical tools for measuring both geographical and online sense of community. With these measures, analysis focuses first on the nature of the news-community relationships and then compares them based on the media preferences of respondents. Results suggest that the Internet may not be as powerful a geographic community builder as the print product and that geographic community connections are stronger than those online regardless of respondents' usage habits. Based on these findings, directions for future scholarly research and actionable information for the newspaper industry are presented.
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  • In Copyright
  • Meyer, Philip
  • Open access

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