Changing news formats in online newspapers and in the print media
The emergence of the Internet’s virtual communication space has challenged traditional journalism and journalistic work processes. By making online newspapers possible, the Internet has changed newspaper readers’ information consumption habits and behaviour and, as a consequence, has brought about dramatic declines in newspaper circulation in many technologically developed countries. The biggest impact of the Internet on journalism is the appearance of ‘online journalism’. Specific features, such as multimediality, hypertextuality and interactivity make online journalism functionally different from print journalism. Furthermore, online journalism has influenced the ways print media present news. My study focuses on the different methods of news presentation in the print media and in online newspapers by comparing the print and online versions of the news in the Finnish newspapers Helsingin Sanomat, Aamulehti, Iltalehti and Ilta-Sanomat, the International Herald Tribune from United States and The Guardian from Great Britain. I scrutinise two key dimensions: news values and the structure of the news stories. This study combines qualitative and quantitative content analysis. The main method is qualitative content analysis, which enables the analysing of journalistic news content, news values and storytelling and illustrates trends, including the weak signals regarding the possible future of online news journalism and print journalism. Using quantitative analysis, it is possible to describe typical features of contemporary online news stories, like length, pictures and number of technical journalistic elements. The aim of the study is to make a model for content and form of new-type journalism and intermediality between the print and online versions of newspapers. My hypothesis is that online journalism makes greater use of the ‘inverted pyramid’ structure in combination with hyperlinks and the news topics are in general ‘softer’ but stories are more dramatised than the news in the print media. Print newspapers try to survive by offering more detailed stories, using various dramaturgical ways of telling stories, trying to foresee subsequent news events and contextualizing the news. This study also explores the distinction between Finnish online and newspaper journalism compared to their counterparts in the United States and Great Britain.