Newspaper readership was declining before the WWW – and didn’t decline any faster after it

[Keyword: , ]. Flicking through Internet Newspapers, a book edited by Xigen Li and collecting a range of articles on the medium I came across an interesting piece of research by Xigen Li and Zhanwei Cao on the ‘Effect of Growing Internet Newspapers on Circulation of U.S. Print Newspapers’. Namely:

“First, the study found circulation of print newspapers has been declining since 1990. There was no difference in circulation changes between the two periods 1990 to 1994 and 1995 to 2000. The later period was marked by the popularity of internet newspapers.”

Sounds like the internet has been a scapegoat for a decline in readership which predates the World Wide Web…

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Paul Bradshaw lectures on the Journalism degree at UCE Birmingham media department. He writes a number of blogs including the Online Journalism Blog, Interactive PR and Web and New Media

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1 thought on “Newspaper readership was declining before the WWW – and didn’t decline any faster after it

  1. Murley

    The later period was marked by the popularity of internet newspapers.

    I’m sorry, but the period from 1995-2000 was not marked by the popularity of internet newspapers. You have to account for penetration of Internet access and broadband access. There were no weblogs, no RSS feeds, no easily accessible video options, no iPod.

    Adoption rates and use of the Internet for news has greatly increased in the period after 2000. If the researchers could replicate the study for 2000-2005, and find the same declines in readership, then I’d say they’ve proven something.

    Reply

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