Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

Natalie Jomini Stroud

As associate professor of communication studies, assistant director of the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life, and director of the Engaging News Project at the University of Texas at Austin, Natalie Jomini Stroud works with the American Press Institute to identify and highlight important news-related scholarly findings.

These monthly features highlight academic research that could be relevant and useful to the news industry. We also hope that this series will spark ideas among academics with an interest in researching the news.

Read the series here. Contact her with suggestions and feedback at tstroud@austin.utexas.edu.

General election news coverage: What engages audiences down the ballot

  Summary As Election Day approaches, more people seek news and information about politics. To understand the habits of news audiences in the run-up to the election, we analyzed what was being covered in reporting about down-ballot, non-presidential races for U.S. Congress, governor, and local offices in the lead-up to the 2016 general election. The […]

Why we click on news stories

For news organizations, clicks are tracked closely. They generate advertising revenue and help newsrooms to better understand audience interests. But what motivates news users to click? The reasons are diverse and perhaps unexpected, according to a study forthcoming in the academic journal Journalism by Ph.D. candidate Tim Groot Kormelink and journalism studies professor Irene Costera […]

Strategy coverage, such as fundraising and horserace references, appears in over half of articles

When covering an election, journalists choose a mix of two basic types of reporting — “voter guide” pieces that examine the issue positions and values of the candidates, and “strategy” pieces that analyze campaign tactics and who’s ahead in the race. Observers often say that the voter guide approach is the higher journalistic purpose, while […]

Public safety, education, and social issues are most mentioned topics; user engagement consistent across these topics

Another critical, though sometimes less prominent part of election news reporting, is the amount of coverage devoted to issues. Issue coverage is important in that it can influence which issues people consider to be important, a pattern known as agenda setting. Although news outlets historically have an important agenda-setting influence in American campaigns, the amount […]

How geography, headlines and fact-checking affect campaign coverage engagement

State and local campaign coverage sees greater time on page than federal race coverage Each story was classified based on whether it focused on a federal race (U.S. Senate or House) or a state-based race, including both statewide (e.g. attorney general) and local (e.g. mayoral) contests. Articles referencing state-related campaigns had a higher average time […]

Methodology

We examined 428 newspaper stories from the websites of eight local newspapers across six states (California, Florida, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington). Only news articles focusing on 2016 non-presidential election campaigns, including federal (U.S. Senate, U.S. House), statewide (e.g. gubernatorial, Attorney General, Supreme Court, etc.), and local races (e.g. mayor, council, supervisors, school board, etc.), […]

Primary election coverage: What types of news engage audiences

A broad, data-driven analysis of campaign coverage by the Engaging News Project and the American Press Institute shows how local, state, and federal elections are covered across the United States and what types of campaign coverage engage individuals. The Engaging News Project partnered with the American Press Institute to examine local news coverage of the […]

When journalists get their info from social media, audiences find the reports less credible

Press conferences, interviews, telephone calls — these are the traditional ways in which journalists source their stories. Today, however, many more options are available. From Facebook to Twitter to Google, journalists have many new ways to track down information to inform their reporting. But what do audiences think about these techniques? Do readers think social […]

Outsourced copy-editing doesn’t necessarily mean increased corrections

Newspapers have explored a variety of options to keep costs down, but one possibility —  outsourced copy-editing — comes with a substantial fear that the quality of a newspaper will decline because articles will be replete with errors. Copy editors housed in the newsroom are familiar with local facts and figures, the logic goes, and […]

How to assess the vibrancy of a community’s news ecosystem

Is there enough news produced by and for your community? How might you know? That question is increasing in both importance and difficulty, as traditional news sources falter or transform and new sources of information reshape the public’s behavior. During this time of large and uneven change in how much and what type of news […]

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