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Content Study of Regional Newspapers by the Hoot[1]

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WHAT MAKES NEWS: A CONTENT STUDY OF REGIONAL MEDIA The Hoot.org did a study of regional newspaper coverage over a two month period which extended from mid September to mid November 2010. A sample survey was done of 10 regional newspapers, chosen to represent the North, South, East and West of the country, were studied to see if there were discernable patterns in their coverage. The highest circulated English and Regional language paper in each of five states were taken. It was a sampling of 30 d
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  WHAT MAKES NEWS: A CONTENT STUDY OF REGIONAL MEDIA The Hoot.org did a study of regional newspaper coverage over a two month period which extended from mid September to mid November 2010. A sample survey wasdone of 10 regional newspapers, chosen to represent the North, South, East and West of the country, were studied to see if there were discernable patterns in their coverage.The highest circulated English and Regional language paper in each of five states weretaken. It was a sampling of 30 days across 60 days (every alternate day.) We took all stories in the main editions of each paper, minus the sports and editorial pages, and minus the supplements. The idea was to see what constitutes news in the general news pages. The statistics for sports in our study, relates to sports coverage in thesenewspapers, which occurred outside sports pages. Summary Findings ➢ Overall, politics dominates the news, followed by business. ➢ English newspapers in India however, carry more business than political news. ➢ Thirty nine per cent of all political news was party related. ➢ Crime and violence account for the third highest category of news, followed bynews relating to governance and legal matters. ➢ Agriculture related news accounts for only 0.9 percent of the news ➢ Environment related stories account for 3.0 per cent of all coverage. ➢ Education constituted 4 per cent of all news. School education received lessthan one third of the coverage given to higher education during the period of thestudy. ➢ The focus of the news carried was of a general nature in 62.3 per cent of thestories, urban or city oriented in focus in 30.4 per cent of the cases, and only 3.1per cent of all news had a rural focus. ➢ The Bengali papers had the highest focus on rural news, with 11.5 per cent of   Ananda Bazar Patrika’s news classified as rural, and 6.9 per cent of the news inthe Telegraph. Much of the rural focus news in West Bengal is political violencerelated news srcinating from the rural areas ➢ The news tends to be highly miscellaneous in nature.  ➢ In terms of srcin of news carried national news got a slight edge in all the paperstaken together perhaps because major events happened during this period. ➢ National news was 27.8 per cent, news srcinating at the state level 22.3 per cent, and local or city news 25.2 per cent. ➢ Fourteen percent of the total news was attributed to news agencies, with PTIaccounting for more than 50 per cent. ➢ Eeenadu  of Andhra Pradesh had the most range of coverage. It had the mostpolitical coverage, as well as the most agriculture, science and governance-related news. It had more economy and business coverage than the DeccanChronicle, and far more than other regional language papers except Gujarat Samachar  . It also had the lowest incidence of crime and violence news amongall the newspapers. Its international coverage is low, at 2.1 per cent compared to FULL REPORTOverview Which issues dominate coverage in India’s highest circulating region-specificnewspapers? And which ones receive very little coverage, across the board? Are thereany discernable regional patterns to the kind of news which dominates?Our study took ten newspapers in five states. All stories on the general news pages inthe following newspapers were taken: Hindustan Times (Delhi), Dainik Jagran (Delhi),Telegraph, Ananda Bazar Patrika, Deccan Chronicle, Dinathanti, the Hindu (Chennai),Times of India (Ahmedabad), and Gujarat Samachar. Each of these is the highestcirculated English or regional language papers in its state.Overall, in quantitative terms the single highest category of news was, perhapsunsurprisingly, political news. It constituted 15.7 percent of the total news items codedfor the quantitative survey. A total of 20,797 news items were coded, in five states.The second highest category of news overall, falls in the category of economy andbusiness, at 13.6 per cent of the total.  Legend: Agri – Agriculture; Art; C&V – Crime and Violence; Chd – Child related; Conf – Conflict; E&B – Economy and business; Edu – Education; Env – Environment; Gen –Gender; Gov – Governance; Hth – Health; I/A/M – Incident/Accident/Mortality; Infr-Infrastructure; Int – International; L&O – Law and order; Leg – Legal; Med – Media;Mig – Migration; Pol – Politics; Sci – Science; Soc – Social; Spt – Sport; Wat – Water. However, all the English newspapers had more business and economy coverage, thanpolitical coverage. Among regional language newspapers it was the reverse with theexception of  Gujarat Samachar. This paper had 21.1 per cent of its total coveragedevoted to business, 16.9 per cent to politics.)The third most voluminous category of news in leading daily newspapers was crime andviolence (8.7 percent) , followed by news on governance as a category (8 per cent).The fifth highest category of news was legal. Even after excluding the sports pages,sports still accounted for 4.3 percent of the total news, most of it in the two Delhinewspapers, on account of the Commonwealth Games being held here during thisperiod.How much coverage does agriculture receive, in a country where it constitutes thehighest source of employment? The figure is 0.9 per cent. Stories on water constituted0.4 per cent. Environment, comparatively, does make news (3.0).The social sector fares only slightly better. The percentage of news items on educationwas 4.0 per cent, health, 2.9 per cent, children and gender 0.6 per cent each.The focus of the news carried was of a general nature in 62.3 per cent of the stories,urban or city- oriented in focus in 30.4 per cent of the cases, and 3.1 per cent of allnews had a rural focus. In terms of srcin of news carried national news got a slightedge in all the papers taken together perhaps because major events happened duringthis period. National news was 27.8 per cent, news srcinating at the state level 22.3per cent, and local or city news 25.2 per cent.Fourteen percent of the total news was attributed to news agencies, with PTI accountingfor more than 50 per cent.Some of the findings were skewed by the dominant news of the period under study.Religion dominated the category of news classified as society-related, partly because of the Ayodhya coverage, and partly because the study was conducted over two monthsspanning the festival season.  As the samples of headlines will show, much of the news under each category ismiscellaneous in nature.The major news events during this period were turmoil in Kashmir, the judgement onAyodhya, the Commonwealth Games, and the Obama visit. Political news Sub-categories of news when looked at, also yielded some interesting information. Themost substantial categories of political news were party related (38.9 per cent), andpersonality related (26.1 per cent). Personality news counted as news about or astatement by a political personality. The third highest category of political news relatedto protests (11.9 per cent), and the fourth to corruption (6.9 percent). Legislature or parliament related news constituted 2.7 per cent of the total political news. The categoryclassified as protest includes verbal and physical clashes between workers of politicalparties. Business coverage News related to economy and business has emerged as a substantial chunk of thenews regional papers generate, and the second highest in terms of news categories.As much as 13.6 per cent of all news falls under this category. Within it 36 percent of allfinancial news relates to the private sector, 15.3 per cent to the stock market, 10.8 per cent is coverage of the pubic sector, 8 per cent is items related to banking, and 7.6 per cent constitutes coverage of employment and labour.Individual regional papers reveal issue biases. Some ethnic stereotypes are borne outby the findings. Thus the most business and economy coverage in relation to thepaper’s total coverage is to be found in the Gujarat Samachar  (21.1 per cent), followedby Telegraph (19.7 per cent), Eenadu  (18.4 pc) and the Hindu  (18.5 pc). And 37.6 per cent of all business news in the Gujarat Samachar  is stock market related news.The figures for the Hindustan Times are not representative of the paper’s actualcoverage because there is a business news supplement in addition to the main paper, Dainik Jagran though a substantial portion of this is devoted to advertising. The study
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