Since the newspaper industry started to experience a major decrease in readership in recent years, many people have deemed the internet and other forms of new media as the culprits. However, a recent study published in the Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, a SAGE Journal, finds that sales are down because readers need more engaging and stimulating content.
Study authors Rachel Davis Mersey, Edward C. Malthouse, and Bobby J. Calder suggested that it is crucial for journalists and practitioners to focus their efforts on creating stimulating content in order to “curb the tide” of newspaper abandonment. In order to test their hypothesis, they selected 52 newspapers nationwide, and issued a series of surveys to their readers to find out exactly what they wanted.
The study authors discovered that readers are looking for more engaging content and offered a few suggestions that could help newspaper organizations provide more variety.
Mersey, Malthouse, and Calder suggested that newspaper journalists could include “a question of the day around a major, local, or even barely known but interesting news story that runs on the front page and is designed to encourage conversation among readers and between readers and the newsroom.”
Find out more tips by reading the complete study, “Focusing on the Reader: Engagement Trumps Satisfaction” in the Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. This article is available free for a limited time at: http://jmq.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/08/29/1077699012455391.full.pdf+html