Schreiber, Richard A.
M.A. (Master of Arts)
Department of Journalism
The objective of this study was to determine what constitutes news in the suburban press of the United States; that is, to establish an operational definition of this news. (Most literature on the suburban press has dealt with the demographics relative to readership and marketing surveys, all directed toward the advertising rather than the editorial aspects of this individual segment of newspaper publishing.) The study consists of a content analysis of 25 suburban newspapers from five geographical areas— Far West, Southwest, Midwest, East and South. The analysis was concerned with measuring in column inches all editorial and art copy and then identifying each picture and story by subject and placing it in one of 38 categories. From these data 11 composite papers were compiled— two from each geographical area (one for editorial and the other for art) based on percentage breakdowns by category, and the remaining one being based on the application of computer data that provided a composite suburban paper for the entire United States. On the basis of the 10 composite papers compiled from the percentage breakdowns, the leading categories were Social/Food/Fashions and Sports, in both the Editorial and Art divisions; with Editorial Page, Education and Recreation/Entertainment following in order in the Editorial Division. The third most popular category in the Art Division was Features. This, then (along with percentages from the remaining categories), answered the question as to what constitutes news in the suburban press. Or, by operational definition, on the basis of the papers analyzed in this study, news in the suburban press of the United States (from both an editorial and art standpoint) consists (by category) of Social/Food/Fashions and Sports, followed by Editorial Page, Education, Recreation/Entertainment and Features, with other news of interest to the readership of the local area covered by the individual suburban paper. The application of the computer data was invaluable in that it provided not only a composite paper but presented profiles for each editorial and art category that, in total, lent a "sideview" to the study which could not have been obtained by working with percentages only. Appendixes include a history of the United States suburban press since 1950 and a prognosis, both based upon an interview with Chester K. Hayes, advisory counsel to the United States Suburban Press Foundation, Chicago, and an annotated bibliography of 17 pages on articles pertaining to the subject that were published from 1960 to 1974.
Depew, Walter W., "A content analysis of news in the United States suburban press" (1975). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 232.
Northern Illinois University
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