Giving in to gossip : an analysis of American news web sites during the first decade of the 21st century

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Studinski, David P.
Chesebro, James W.
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Thesis (M.A.)
Department of Telecommunications
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The central contention of this thesis is that an increase in image-focused or pseudo-event-focused hyperlinked-headlines is occurring on online news sites. This central contention contains at least three implications. First, holding that the newspaper is the epitome of traditional journalism, a crisis in the news industry is underway. The crisis began as a result of newspapers’ financial challenges posed by electronic media, but the growth of online news sites has accelerated and worsened conditions. Second, as a result of this dire financial situation, news outlets, collectively, are shifting focus from traditional journalism’s concept of news to a 1830s-era Penny Press sensationalism style, marked by human-interest pieces, entertainment fluff and celebrity gossip. Third, news is shifting away from the ironic reporting method and theory of detached observer to a more personally connected style of narrative storytelling, which, together with the aforementioned implications, signifies a cyclical cycle and consequential return to the colonial roots of the American press and its definition of news.