INTRODUCTION "The world is in turmoil," at least that is what the media projected. But it was true; there was a major problem with the world on that autumn morning in September 11 th. "The mighty have fallen," was heard elsewhere as this great nation of America felt it's first real attack since December 7, 1945 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. As all of the nations of the world sat slacked jawed and paralyzed, the American media worked at a feverish pace to inform all what had just happened. The media did a wonderful job portraying the events that took place during and after September 11 th. Especially the newspapers, with the up to the minute news processing and gathering for up to the minute news.
They even at times collaborated with other news sources so that they were able to be a main source for news. Newspapers is the only news mass media that has been there for every major disaster that America has gone through. The Revolutionary war used newspapers for the most up-to-date information for those whose family was fighting far off; it was even used to inform the cities of what was happening with the current government. Then there was the Civil War, and not to mention the deaths of Presidents. Newspapers have covered from behind the lines during battles.
They were even there for even the saddest of moments when great people have passed on such as President John F. Kennedy and Princess Diana. Newspapers have covered lots of news over the years and have had a lot of readers. But is it because of these disasters that newspapers are still around? Has the tragedy of September 11 th helped to improve Sunday newspaper readership? Sunday Newspaper Readership According to "Newspaper Association of America" there was a steady decline in Sunday readership before and continuing through the year 2000. Readers whether part time or full time newspaper readers were just not picking up their papers anymore.
AT least 18% of all readers have started to read less or have decided not to pick up the paper all together. This continuous downfall has not just affected the occasional reader; it has affected every type from the hardcore to the infrequent reader. It is hard to reach the Sunday reader or even the potential reader to find out what they like to read in the newspaper since most of the time the reader is a one time a week reader or even an occasional reader. The Sunday edition covers everything that these types of readers used to look for, from things that happened in the last week to what might be coming up in the next few weeks. The main complaints are that the paper has too much to read for the occasional reader, it is a waste of paper and an environment issue, and the paper has become dull and boring. Well is the paper boring when there are disasters going on? Not much has really been studied on this issue it is one that should be studied.
Reader interest in newspapers Readers have lost interest in the Sunday newspaper, 18% have at least lost interest between the years of 1998 and 2000. So why have they lost interest, because the paper has become dull and boring. The Sunday paper now needs to be more fun, maybe even local, but if a paper does that will it increase readership? Well supposedly the changes will make the paper better but the problem is finding out what the readers like. The occasional reader will usually not read the same thing as a reader who reads everyday. There needs to be a common length for the articles so that both readers are satisfied and there needs to more articles that can cover local and world news, then there needs to be more coupons, and there needs to be information on education and the government (Newspaper Association of America). Maybe then the readers will be satisfied.
Has reader interest in newspapers increased Sunday readership since 9/11? Throughout this paper there has been mention of disasters and newspaper readership. Are these two somehow related so that if the number of disasters increases that Sunday newspaper readership will increase too? According to Jan Schaffer, terrorist's attacks and other such disastrous events will cause a major increase in readership in fact the readers will even at times consider the Sunday newspaper more interesting than normal, and are more likely to buy one. Since the events of 9/11, Sunday readership has gone on a rigid trail. After the initial rise in readership, the interest seemed to peak then started decreasing again, only to increase on occasion when there was the occasional news in the paper about the war on terrorists and the government.
But the increases have not yet hit the peak that the readership was at after 9/11 (The Quill). There does seem to be a slight relationship between the two topics of Sunday newspaper readership and disasters. This relationship has been around a long time, but the idea to sell war in newspapers was not actually used popularly till the 1890's with yellow journalism. When the major newspapers of the time used the idea of war as a way to sell papers. The process became so out of control that the Spanish-American War was started because of it (Great Projects Film Company). So this is not a new trend that has recently started, since the beginning of newspapers, readership has always increased due to disaster.
Mostly because people want to be informed and kept up to the minute on all of their news. Research question and Hypothesis With the latest decline in Sunday readership there is a slight wonder if newspapers are going to be able to compete with other media and if they will survive the all-powerful Internet. However with the small amount of information we have about readership over the last few years there still is one question that needs to be answered. Which is the research question of the study; RQ 1: Has reader interest in newspapers increased Sunday readership since 9/11? After finding the information about how readership has been affected the general hypothesis is H 1: Reader interest in newspapers has increased Sunday readership since 9/11. From what this study has shown so far the hypothesis is often over looked or even not a topic that is thought to be of major importance. The lack of any noted research studies is an obvious indication of the low amount of interest in the topic.
Bibliography Great Projects Film Company, Inc... Yellow Journalism. 1 May 2004. web journalism. html " Newspapers face ongoing challenges" The Quill, Chicago, Jul/Aug 2002, Pro Quest May 1, 2004 Newspaper Association of America. "Six- Market Study: Changes in Sunday Readership: Impact on the newspaper industry." 2000 Somerville, Richard.
"Demographic Research on Newspaper Readership." Newspaper Association of America. 2001 Schaffer, Jan. "Did it Take an Attack to Improve Journalism? ." American Editor Sep/Oct 2001: Issue 1, p 9. Ebscohost May 1 2004.