Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Since individuals and companies began buying independent newspapers and forming newspaper groups or chains, critics have feared the actions would have negative effects on the industry and on the nation. They feared homogeneity of content and, therefore, a reduction in the diversity of ideas. This study, a content analysis of five newspapers from the Harris Newspaper Group, a small chain based in Kansas, and one non Harris owned control newspaper, examined whether homogeneity existed on the editorial pages of Harris newspapers. Specifically, it looked at whether group newspapers published the same syndicated columnists and same syndicated columns, and whether the chain newspapers published editorials on the same topic, or with the same treatment. Results of the study suggest that chain ownership does not result in homogeneity in the use of syndicated columns. Most syndicated columnists and columns were unique to one paper, although some newspapers had more of a propensity than others to run content common to at least one other sample newspaper. Treatment of editorials, in terms of editorial topic, locus and slant, tended to be similar; however, the study suggested that the Harris newspapers varied in degree of vigor with local and state editorials. The study also suggested that circulation influences editorial page content more than chain ownership.
Bates, Brent, "Chain Ownership and Homogeneity of Kansas Newspaper Editorial Pages" (1991). Electronic Thesis Collection. 41.