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Friday, November 30, 2007

Niches of the News Media

For those interested in niche theory as it is applied to the media industry, or studies of news consumption examining new (e.g. internet, web-enabled phone, iPod) and traditional media (e.g. TV, radio, newspaper), Dr. Dimmick, John Feaster, and Greg Hoplamazian are currently involved in research in this area. Below is an abstract from their paper submitted to ICA in November. If you have any questions about the study, or niche theory more generally, please let us know!

The use of mobile and traditional media for information: News in time and space

Dr. John Dimmick, John Feaster, and Greg Hoplamazian

The study was supported by a grant from the Knight Foundation and the Shorenstein Center for the Press and Public Policy at Harvard University

News content, once restricted to purely paper formats, is now accessible through 24-hour news channels, constantly updated websites, text messages sent automatically to cell phones, and newspaper sources available in several formats (print, online, e-mail). This growth from one channel to many seems to suggest great competition between these available news media, each diminishing the consumer need for the other. However, research on media use displacement and offers conflicting results regarding the impact of novel media (for review see Cai, 2005). This study employs the theory of the niche (Dimmick, 2003) to examine competition and coexistence between traditional and mobile news media. A time-space diary method was used to capture paticipants' news consumption during an assigned 24-hour peroid. Results suggest that new media are occupying niche spaces where traditional media are either unavailable or inconvenient. These findings offer insight into how various news media are able to coexist by occupying distinct niches in the news domain. Media were differentiated by demonstrating superiority over competitors based on time of day, location, or content offered.

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