Amy J. Kiste

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Kummerfeldt, Irvan J.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Journalism


Advertising; Newspaper--Michigan--Gratiot County; Newspapers--Circulation


Free-circulation weekly newspapers have sprung up around the country to challenge traditional paid- circulation weekly newspapers for readership and advertising. Studies of daily newspapers have shown that competing newspapers do not differ significantly in content. The author advanced the hypothesis that free and paid-circulation newspapers also would not be significantly different in content. Two Michigan weeklies, the paid-circulation Gratiot County Herald and the free Reminder News, were chosen for a case study. Those newspapers were selected because their rural location isolated them from effects of other media, both newspapers were independently owned, both were similar in format, each publisher also operates a commercial printing plant, both newspapers have staffs of similar size, and both have nearly 100 percent overlap of advertising market and circulation area. An analysis of the percentage of space devoted to twenty-six editorial and eight advertising categories revealed that overall, both newspapers were not significantly different in content. Paid-circulation newspapers may exist side-by- side because both are competing as paid-circulation newspapers. But a paid-circulation and a free newspaper are not competing on the same basis. Therefore, unless the publisher of the paid-circulation newspaper can offer readers a superior product, that publisher may find himself out of business. If this case study proves to be representative of most paid-circulation and free newspapers in a competitive market, the weekly newspaper industry may experience some sweeping changes as paid- circulation newspapers alter their products or are driven out of business by free newspapers.


Bibliography: pages 116-120.


vi, 120 pages




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