The Internet has changed the way the news media work, since it first became available to everyone. It also changed how people consume media. Traditionally, the only question was which news outlet to use, which television newscast to watch or newspaper or news magazine to read. Now, however, people also have to decide on which platform to check those news outlets, as they most often also publish their news on their own websites, as well as on social networking sites (SNSs) like Facebook and Twitter. News outlets now see the Internet as a natural extension of their organization.1
The question of cross-publishing as it happens today, remains open and unanswered. Studies on the topic so far have either been qualitative in nature or have focused on comparing within traditional news media or new media, but not between them. This study performed a content analysis of posts made by The New York Times throughout the four platforms mentioned. The New York Times was selected for being one of the best-selling newspapers in the United States. Data were collected between March 17 and April 16, 2017, and a random week constructed from that sample, including one sample from each day of the week, as a way to avoid specific news stories or news department from skewing the results.
The fact that The New York Times is publishing different, specific stories, with different characteristics, in most of its different platforms analyzed is a good sign: it means its journalists and editors are paying attention to the unique details and demographics of the different platforms when selecting what news will be disseminated there. By doing so, newspapers such as The New York Times can encourage readers who still rely solely on the print edition—still about 50 percent of all print readers—to start checking out their website or SNSs, knowing they can find different stories there.
The minimal research on how news outlets are currently publishing across different platforms is limited in scope and has conflicting conclusions. Based on gatekeeping theory, this quantitative study expands that literature by comparing what The New York Times publishes in print, on its website and on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Results show both significant similarities and differences across platforms, and raise questions about the industry, and about news gatekeeping theory.
News publishing across platforms: Gatekeeping for print, web, Facebook and Twitter
First Published October 30, 2018 Research Article
Newspaper Research Journal