International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss

Social Responsibility, Marketing, or Something Else? A Case Study of News Over 50 years in a Middle American community
Jeffrey Alan John

A definition of news eludes scholars and those who practice journalism, but the meaning of the word has taken on more than academic importance because today anyone can create a document regardless of content, distribute it widely on the internet, and call it “news.” This article utilizes longitudinal data from multiple content analyses of news media in an American city, a comparison with earlier content, and interviews with community media representatives in order to examine choices made by print and broadcast journalists that reveal both an applied definition of news and, indirectly, the theory by which the community’s journalists made choices that determined what was called news in that community over 50 years. Results and observations reveal that while the community newspaper continues to adhere to tenets of social responsibility theory, the community’s television news has largely abandoned that theory in favor of a market-driven approach.

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