Impact of Internet on use of traditional news media

Impact of Internet on use of traditional news media

Bromley, Rebekah V

Discussion about the role of traditional news media in a world connected by an electronic information superhighway has increased dramatically in professional publications, at industry and academic conventions and on computer networks during the past two years. In general, analysts see a world in which the traditional publishing industry may flourish, maintain its current status and operations or gradually go the way of dinosaur.(1) The debate poses an interesting research question: Will consumer time spent on the Internet and other online services come at the expense of time spent with traditional media?

Previous studies have focused primarily on the effect of new technology on the revenues of existing media.(2) Although the research does not specifically address how consumer use of new technology may make an impact on traditional news media us the studies provide insight into how consumer use patterns may evolve.

In a 1972 study of the impact of new technology on existing mass media advertising revenues and consumer spending between 1929-1968, Maxwell McCombs proposed the hypothesis of relative constancy.(3) McCombs found that consumer spending on mass media was relative to the Gross National Product and was constant over time. Consequently, even though total consumer expenditures on mass media may rise and fall in actual dollars as a result of numerous economic factors, media spending, as a percent of disposable income, would remain constant. The implication of this proposition for traditional media was clear: if new mass communication technology survived and thrived in the marketplace, it would be at the expense of traditional mass communication media.

Although some support for what is now referred to as the principle of relative constancy has been found in subsequent studies, the findings are not conclusive. Some research suggests alternative explanations that would allow new technology to coexist with existing media, rather than bringing about demise or radical alteration of traditional media.(4) The coexistence of traditional media with a new medium might occur, for example, if established and new media occupied separate market niches(5) or if disposable income was diverted from non-media uses to media use, at least during the short term.(6) In an examination of cable television’s impact, Jack Glascock examined advertiser and consumer spending on mass media between 1979-1990. His findings that the amount of spending on mass media increased during the time period led him to question the accuracy of the relative constancy principle.(7)

Purpose and method

Intuitively, an extension of the relative constancy principle suggests that another threat to existing media from new technology may well be the clock. That is, the amount of time consumers spend with mass media may be constant and finite over time. There are only 24-hours in a day. The time is fixed.

Although in the short-term, media use patterns may alter because of an increase or decrease in time spent with non-media activities like sleeping, eating, working and socializing, in the long term, media use patterns would be constant. If this is the case, then as new technologies such as interactive computer networks enter the market, the time consumers spend using them will be subtracted from time previously spent using traditional media.(8)

To test this assumption, this study proposed the following hypothesis:

Users of interactive computer networks, at least during initial startup, will spend less time with newspapers, television, and radio than they did before adopting the new technology.

While electronic mail applications give the Internet and other online services the properties of interpersonal, machine-assisted communications, discussion lists, file transfers, usenet groups and online publications broaden the scope of these services to mass communication status. This case study does not attempt to compare time spent in interpersonal communications before and after introduction to the Internet. Nor does it consider books, magazines, film or other media associated more often with an entertainment rather than news function.

The study of consumer media use patterns was conducted in Blacksburg, Va., the home of the Blacksburg Electronic Village (BEV), officially described as “a small-scale model for the National Research and Education Network (NREN),(9) the national data ‘superhighway.'”(10) Built in partnership with Blacksburg, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and Bell Atlantic, BEV was one of the first projects in the United States to offer community residents full access to the Internet without charge. Public terminals are available on campus and at the public library; homes and offices are provided access for modest network data connection charges.(11)

Unlike other community network systems, BEV is network-based, as opposed to host-based.(12) Going beyond freenets, local bulletin-boards, or even bulletin-board systems with Internet access, BEV “is a microcosm of the Internet, with thousands of systems utilizing IP(13) and a variety of connectivity options.”(14) Blacksburg, using the BEV gopher, provides citizens with electronic access to a wide array of town information, including bus schedules, council minutes, street closings and fee schedules, as well as direct access to the Internet. Once a “critical mass” of subscribers is obtained, BEV managers plan for the electronic village to become an interactive commercial marketplace.(15)

At the time this study was conducted, seven months after BEV’s implementation and five months after public terminals first became available, more than 1,000 residents were network subscribers.(16) During those months, BEV officials estimated that new subscribers were joining the network at an average of more than 250 per month.(17)

To test the hypothesis for this study, a questionnaire was designed to answer these questions:

* What are the demographic characteristics of early adopters of the Blacksburg Electronic Village?

* For what purposes are subscribers using BEV?

* How do early adopters of BEV use traditional news media?

* Has time spent on the new technology come at the expense of time spent with traditional news media?

A 24-item questionnaire gathered data on network and traditional news media experiences of BEV participants. The questionnaire was electronically mailed to approximately one-third (341) randomly selected subscribers of BEV on May 29, 1994. Seventeen days later, a follow-up reminder and another copy of the questionnaire were sent to non-respondents. By the deadline, usable survey forms had been returned by 98 people for a 29 percent return rate.

In addition to the questionnaire, information for this study was gathered from personal interviews with local media and library representatives and BEV administrators, as well as from surveys conducted before BEV was created, asking Blacksburg residents to list desired online applications.

Findings

Demographics

The typical subscriber to the Blacksburg Electronic Village at the time of this study was a young male with at least one college degree, who was affiliated with Virginia Tech and who lived in a household with an annual income of $20,000 to $50,000.

Anecdotal evidence indicates that cyberspace is primarily a male inhabited world,(18) and among subscribers who joined BEV within its first seven months of operation, males outnumbered females 3.5 to 1 (78 to 22 percent).

Sixty-one percent of subscribers were between the ages of 18 and 35.(19) More than two-thirds of respondents had at least one college degree, equally divided between bachelor’s and master’s degrees. An additional 24 percent reported that their highest level of education was a high school diploma, with most of them reporting that they were currently working toward a bachelor’s degree. Ten percent of BEV subscribers answering the survey held Ph.D. degrees. Only 2 percent of respondents were in elementary or high school, but children and teenagers sometimes use BEV accounts owned by their parents.

Students comprised 37 percent of respondents to the survey; 28 percent were in professional occupations; 19 percent were Virginia Tech faculty or staff members; 13 percent held sales or service jobs; 3 percent were homemakers or listed no occupation. Household income of less than $20,000 annually was reported by 34 percent of respondents; 38.5 percent reported annual household incomes ranging from $20,000 to $50,000, and 27.5 percent said their household income was greater than $50,000 a year.

How subscribers use BEV

BEV users responding to our survey reported that they spent an average of 78 minutes per day using online services. However, more than one-half (55 percent) reported using BEV services for 60 minutes or less each day. Nearly 30 percent reported using BEV services or more than 90 minutes a day.

While a disproportionate number of BEV subscribers are male, the study found no statistically significant differences in the amount of time males and females spent using various network services. Likewise, no statistically significant differences existed in cross tabulations of occupation and type of network service used or frequency of use.

The most popular BEV service was electronic mail, with 97 percent of subscribers using this network feature and almost two-thirds of the users (65.2 percent) accessing the option at least once a day. Thirty percent said they logged on to check electronic mail more than once a day. Results of a multiple-response check list showed “chit-chat with family or friends” to be the most frequent purpose for using electronic mail (85 percent of respondents). “Recreational use” was checked by 48 percent of respondents; 43 percent indicated “professional or academic” purposes, and 39 percent marked “business uses.”

Four-fifths of BEV subscribers used the network to access information such as databases, library catalogs and remote computers, with 25 percent of the subscribers using the service daily or every other day for that purpose and 23 percent using the service about once a week to access databases or library catalogs.

The most frequent use of the network for databases and other sources of information was for recreational purposes (60 percent), such as hobbies and special interest. Thirty percent of respondents also use those electronic information sources for academic or professional purposes and 20 percent for business purposes.

Electronic bulletin boards or news groups were used by 62 percent of the BEV subscribers, with slightly more than one-half of the users (53 percent) accessing the option for recreational purposes rather than for business, professional or academic purposes.

How BEV subscribers use traditional news media

When the BEV began operation, the Blacksburg news market included two area newspapers — the Roanoke (Va.) Times & World-News and the (Christiansburg, Va.) News — several regional television affiliates offering programming from ABC, NBC and CBS, Fox, and the Public Broadcast System, a local TV cable system; two campus newspapers — the Collegiate Times and the Tech Independent — same-day home delivery of the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, and numerous radio stations.

Although only the campus media and the cable company have offices in Blacksburg, both the Times & World-News and the News have offices in the adjacent town of Christiansburg, the county seat. Management considers Blacksburg to be part of their coverage area.(20)Six days a week, the Times World-News publishes The Current, a tabloid insert that focuses on events in Blacksburg and surrounding communities, while the News divides coverage of news events between Blacksburg and the neighboring cities of Radford and Christiansburg.(21) Additionally, network television affiliates and area radio stations routinely carry news stories originating from Blacksburg.

This study revealed statistically significant differences in patterns of traditional news media use among respondents according to age, education and income level, but no significant differences according to gender or occupation in the frequency or amount of time BEV subscribers spent with newspapers, television or radio.

At the time of interviews or this study, none of the local media outlets published online, but individual staff members from both commercial newspapers were BEV subscribers.(22) Officials at the Times & World News said they hoped to have free archival retrieval of the newspaper available to BEV subscribers by the end of 1994.(23)

Newspapers

BEV users were almost equally divided between newspaper subscribers (48 percent) and nonsubscribers (52 percent). Approximately 92 percent of the subscriptions were for the two local newspapers.

If subscribership is equated with readership, the findings support previous studies: newspaper readership positive correlates with age,(24) education(25) and income(26) were statistically significant among BEV users. More than 90 percent of users age 50 or older subscribed to newspapers, and 70 percent of respondents with advanced degrees subscribed. Slightly more than three-fourths (76 percent) of BEV subscribers with total household incomes above $50,000 were also newspaper subscribers, in comparison with 23 percent of BEV users with newspaper subscriptions having total household incomes below $20,000.

In a ranking of content categories by percent of readership, BEV subscribers reported newspaper reading preferences as follows: (1) national news, 79 percent; (2) local news, 76 percent; (3) international news, 65 percent; (4) comics, 60 percent; (5) editorials, 54 percent; (6) business and style, both 52 percent; (7) advertising 39 percent; and (8) sports, 33 percent.

Frequency of newspaper reading among respondents was 47 percent, every day; 7 percent, every other day; 9 percent, at least every two days. More than one-fifth (22 percent) reported “almost never” reading a newspaper; 15 percent said they never read a paper.

The study found that BEV users who read a newspaper spent, on average, more time with a newspaper (29 minutes) than typical U. S. newspaper readers. Among BEV users who reported reading a newspaper, 47 percent spent 30 minutes or more reading a newspaper each day in comparison with 30 percent who said they spent 15 minutes or less per day with a newspaper, and 22 percent spent 17 to 29 minutes per day with a newspaper.

Television

Nearly all BEV users (91 percent) reported that they watched television. However, BEV users averaged almost two hours of viewing time per day, about one hour less than respondents in a 1991 study of viewing frequency patterns for similarly aged adults in a university town in the Midwest.(27) One-third of BEV subscribers said they watched an hour or less of television each day. Approximately 38 percent, watched up to two hours daily, 3 percent watched television at least three hours a day, and 23 percent reported watching television more than three hours a day.

This study suggests that BEV subscribers were more likely to get their news from television and radio than from newspapers. More than half (53 percent) tuned to radio or television news programming at least once each day, while 47 percent reported reading a newspaper daily.

On average, BEV users recalled spending 32 minutes watching news on television. However, 16.3 percent reported that they almost never watched television news. Of those who did watch news programming, viewing time averaged 38 minutes. Approximately 61 percent of BEV television news viewers spent 30 minutes or less watching televised accounts, while 33 percent said they watched one or more hours of news programming each day.

Radio

The vast majority of all BEV users (92 percent) listened to radio. The average listening time reported for all BEV users was one hour and 40 minutes per day. More than one-fourth of BEV users, 28 percent, listened up to 30 minutes each day. Approximately 24 percent listened to radio between one-half hour and one hour daily, 19 percent listened to radio between one and one and a half hours, and 20 percent reported listening more than two hours a day.

On average, BEV users spent 26 minutes listening to news on radio. However, 18.4 percent reported they listened to almost no radio news. Of those who did listen to radio news programming, listening time averaged 32 minutes. Approximately 71 percent spent 30 minutes or less listening to news accounts, while 22 percent said they tuned in for one or more hours of news programming daily.

Impact of network time on time spent with traditional media

The majority of BEV subscribers reported that the electronic services provided by BEV had not affected the amount of time they spent with newspapers, television or radio. (see Table 1) (Table 1 omitted)

Slightly more than four-fifths (83 percent) of all respondents recalled that the amount of time they spent with newspapers, television and radio had not altered since they began using the BEV services. Almost 90 percent of respondents said their amount of radio listening time had remained the same; 76.5 percent o television viewers reported no change, and 82.7 percent of respondents said they spent the same amount of time with newspapers before and after subscribing to BEV.

However, 18 percent of the BEV users reported watching less television since joining the network, while participants’ time spent with newspapers declined 7 percent and radio listening declined 1 percent.

Respondents in this study reported that within each 24-hour period, they spent, on average, one-fifth of their time or almost 5 hours per day with newspapers, the electronic network, radio and television. Almost no one reported an increase in the amount of time spent with traditional media after beginning to use interactive computer networks.

In ranking media use by percent and frequency, BEV users reported: television viewing accounted for more than one-third of the time (36.5 percent) or slightly more than one and three quarters hours; radio listening averaged one hour and 40 minutes each day, or 29.1 percent of total time; use of all computer networking services was one and one-half hours, slightly more than one-fourth of total time (26.7 percent); and newspaper reading accounted for, on average, 23 minutes each day, approximately 7.7 percent of total time.

Respondents said that for television and radio news programming, as opposed to total broadcast use, they spent, on average, 32 minutes viewing televised news programs, 26 minutes listening to radio news broadcasts and 23 minutes reading the newspaper.

Conclusions

This study found no significant support for the hypothesis that users of interactive computer networks, at least during initial start-up, will spend less time with newspapers, televisions and radio than they did before adopting the new technology. The overwhelming majority of respondents reported no change in the amount of time they spent with traditional media after beginning to use the new technology, while slightly fewer than 10 percent reported spending less time with traditional media.

Where time spent with traditional media decreased, it was more likely to be subtracted from television viewing than from newspapers or radio. Although most BEV users reported no change in their use of traditional media sources, more than twice as many reported a decrease in television viewing time (18 percent) as said they spent less time reading a newspaper (7 percent). This is consistent with the notion that early adopters of interactive computer networks are avid information seekers and thus more likely to reduce media use for entertainment than for news purposes. All respondents who reported watching television spent most of their viewing time with entertainment, rather than news, programming.

BEV users reported averaging almost five hours each day using the four media forms studied here: computer networks, newspapers, television and radio. If a typical person spends eight hours a day working, attending classes or studying, another eight hours sleeping, two hours eating, one hour in transit to and from work or school and at least one hour for dressing and personal hygiene, only four hours remain in the day. This amounts to one hour less than the total time BEV users report spending per day with interactive computer networks, newspapers, television and radio. It must be remembered also that this study did not ask about time spent reading books or magazines, attending movies, using other media or time engaged in non-media activities.

It is possible that the extra hour came from decreased use of media not asked about in this study or from non-media activities. More likely, given the demographic profile of BEV subscribers, it came from the block of time generally allocated to work or school activities.

Computer use by students and Virginia Tech faculty or staff, who compose 56 percent of the respondents in this study, is assumed to be typical of computer users at other universities in the United States. During the past three years, Internet use at university campuses nationwide has expanded far beyond the scientific fields that originally used it. As students and faculty throughout the campus come to understand the potential value of the Internet for their own faculty and staff were at work or school. In the early months of the BEV project, subscribers may have also used free public terminals on campus or at the public library instead of investing in the hardware necessary for home use.

As in any case study, results should not be generalized to the population as a whole. In addition, readers should be mindful of the limitations of self-reported data based on a 29 percent response rate. It is possible that early subscribers to the Blacksburg Electronic Village are atypical of those who will join BEV later or atypical of other people who use interactive computer networks. Certainly their demographic profile indicated that BEV users are better educated and more affluent than the U. S. population as a whole.

While the relative constancy principle as extended to time received no support in this case study, the findings suggest further research is warranted. As found by this study, the amount of time spent with networks, newspapers, television and radio is constant — seven days a week by most respondents — and high — almost five hours a day on average. Subsequent studies of interactive computer network users in settings not dominated by a university may reveal a greater decrease in time spent with traditional media, particularly as network navigational tools become increasingly user friendly. Further, future studies may well discern whether computer networks occupy a niche separate from traditional media or whether network users steal time from non-media activities or media activities not measured by this study.

Recommendations

Although this study found no significant support for the hypothesis that users of interactive computer networks, at least during initial start-up, will spend less time with traditional news media than they did before adopting the new technology, it would appear prudent for newspapers in a wired community with free public access to the Internet to actively and aggressively pursue reader service options from the onset. With a flat and aging subscriber base and decline in percentage of advertising dollars, the industry can ill-afford a wait-and-see attitude or to wait for technological perfection.

Delaying action until a critical mass of subscribers have joined a community network may be foolhardy. Newspaper managers who wait for audience numbers enticing to advertisers or technology with high-quality and almost instantaneous graphic transmission capability may find it difficult to break established subscriber use patterns and information channels.

Frequency of electronic-mail use, desire for local news and information and time spent using the Blacksburg Electronic Village networking services suggest that newspapers’ early entry into a wired community would be desirable and economical. For a modest capital outlay, daily or weekly posting of local meetings and events will tap network users’ reported desire for local news and information, establish the electronic newspaper as the gateway for such information and provide newspapers with a link to network subscribers who are not otherwise newspaper readers or subscribers. Indeed, this may be an ideal way to introduce the newspaper to hard-to-reach younger readers.

While further research may find traditional news media use patterns of BEV subscribers to be atypical of network and traditional mass media audiences, the study further suggests that regardless of gender, occupation, age, income or education, network subscribers are, overall, information junkies with a strong desire to interact with other network members. Newspapers could capitalize on this phenomena by providing services such as electronic letters to the editor, discussion lists and bulletin boards about local issues in the news, an electronic suggestion box for story ideas, or even a forum for news accounts from a community of would-be stringers.

Interactive computer networks could facilitate the community connectedness movement being encouraged by some newspaper industry leaders and journalism educators concerned about declining newspaper readership. Recognizing that people who feel a sense of connection to the place they live are almost twice as likely to regularly read the community newspaper,(28) the community connectedness idea holds that journalism must contribute to rebuilding a sense of community. Newspapers, according to community connectedness proponents, should put less emphasis on merely chronicling events and more emphasis on helping residents feel a part of a community by letting them set the agenda for the community and, in a sense, for the newspaper. Connectivity and community, argues James K. Batten, Knight-Ridder CEO, “are ways to build circulation, to make money, and to bring paying customers back into the fold.”(29)

Sponsoring focus groups and town hall meetings are among ways newspapers have fostered community building and citizens’ agenda building.(30) Interactive computer networks, such as the Blacksburg Electronic Village, provide an ideal way for editors to discern the community topics most important to residents and to poll public opinion about those topics.

Best of all, publishers do not have to be computer literate or have deep pockets to reap the advantages of cyberspace. Entry requires one computer, one modem, and, if free public access is unavailable, one monthly subscription to a commercial service offering Internet access and one staff member who is curious, adventurous and willing to learn to navigate the Internet. Editors and publishers who don’t want to wait for a staffer to become self-taught may want to list knowledge of the Internet among job qualifications for their next hire. Journalism schools have begun to incorporate Internet training and computer-assisted-reporting into the curriculum.

How can one Internet-connected computer help improve newspaper content? That question goes far beyond the scope of this article, but, in general, reporters who know how to access databases stored on remote computers can produce compelling stories that go beyond event-centered coverage or news accounts based primarily on self-serving official sources who have lost credibility with readers. At its computer-assisted-journalism workshops, for example, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. distributes thick bundles of sample stories, some of which have influenced legislation or other action to help correct societal wrongs.

Small papers without the personnel or inclination to produce stories based on statistical analysis of databases can still benefit from an Internet connection. For example, information found in standard reference books – many already out of date by the time they appear in print — can be found quickly on the Internet.(31) In addition, reporters and editors can locate and interview experts all over the world through the free ProfNet cooperative,(32) can contact members of Congress(33) or the White House staff,(34) can monitor or post questions to electronic bulletin boards and discussion lists for story ideas or for a sampling of opinion on virtually any topic, and journalists can even retrieve free information to learn how to use the Internet and to keep abreast of its continually expanding resources.(35)

By entering the networked marketplace now, newspaper publishers have the opportunity to improve their product and service and to position their newspapers as leaders when free public access becomes available in their communities or as increasing numbers of their potential subscribers pay fees to commercial vendors to connect to the global electronic village.(36)

Notes

1. See, for example, The Race for Content, The Media Studies Journal. New York: The Freedom Forum Media Studies Center, Winter 1994.

2. Maxwell E. McCombs, Mass Media in the Marketplace. Journalism Monographs, August 1972; Jack Glascock, The Effect of Cable Television on Advertiser and Consumer Spending on Mass Media, 1978-1990. Journalism Quarterly, Autumn 1993, pp. 509-517; William C. Wood and Sharon L. O’Hare, Paying for the video revolution: Consumer spending on the mass media. Journal of Communication, Winter 1991, pp. 24-30; Hugh S. Fullerton, Technology Collides with Relative Constancy: The Pattern of Adoption for a New Medium. Journal of Media Economics, 1988, pp. 75-84; William C. Wood, Consumer Spending on the Mass Media: The Principle of Relative Constancy Reconsidered. Journal of Communication, Spring 1986, pp. 39-51; John Dommick and Eric Rothenbuhler, The Theory of Niche: Quantifying Competition Among Media Industries. Journal of Communication, Winter 1984, pp. 103-119; Maxwell E. McCombs and Chaim H. Eyal, Spending on Mass Media. Journal of Communication, Winter 1980, pp. 153-158.

3. Maxwell E. McCombs, Mass Media in the Marketplace. Journalism Monographs, August 1972.

4. John Dommick and Eric Rothenbuhler, op. cit., Hugh S. Fullerton, op. cit., William C. Wood and Sharon L. O’Hare, op.cit., Jack Glascock, op. cit.

5. John Dommick and Eric Rothenbuhler, op. cit.

6. Hugh S. Fullerton, op. cit.

7. Jack Glascock, op. cit.

8. For the purposes of this study, traditional media were defined as newspapers, television (including cable and over-the-air), and radio.

9. The term “National Information Infrastructure” has now replaced this term among government officials.

10. Cortney Vargo, Andrew Cohill, and Kimberly Homer, The Blacksburg Electronic Village, BEV, 1.2, March 1994, an information guide for users, available from the Blacksburg Electronic Village, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

11. Ethernet, low-speed modem and CBX data connections are $5 per month. High-speed modem and ISDN connections are $8.60 per month, with a one-time processing fee of $6 for the high-speed modem link. SLIP software for Internet use over phone lines has no connect-time charges or per-message e-mail charges. Source: What Is the Fee Structure for Participating in the Blacksburg Electronic Village, March 1994, online posting, access available on the BEV gopher

Host: gopher.vt.edu

.

12. Phil Theta Bowden, The Blacksburg Electronic Village Partnership, online article on the BEV gopher

Host: gopher.vt.edu

.

13. IP stands for Internet Protocol, the way in which computers talk with other computers. For example, if networked computers have similar instructions on how to interpret data being transmitted, then computers made by different companies and using different software packages can communicate. The Internet Protocol allows chunks or packages of data to move along a variety of networks as the data goes from sender to receiver. Ed Krol, The Whole User’s Guide and Catalog. Sebastpol, Calif.: O’Reilly & Associates, 1992.

14. Bowden.

15. Joseph A. Wiencko Jr., and Phil Theta, Bowden, Vision Statement of the Blacksburg Electronic Village, October 1993, online publication available on the BEV gopher

Host: gopher.vt.edu

.

16. The permanent population of Blacksburg is approximately 10,000, and for nine months of each year, approximately 24,000 full-time Virginia Tech students live in or near the town. Population figures, based on the 1990 U.S. Census, were obtained in June 1994 from the Town of Blacksburg Planning Office.

17. Vargo, Cohill and Homer, op. cit.

18. Mark Levinson, Bound to the Printed Word. Newsweek, June 20, 1994, pp. 52-53.

19. This 61 percent was divided almost equally between the 18 to 26 and 26 to 35 age brackets. Twenty-five percent of respondents were older than 36, and 14 percent younger than 18.

20. Interviews with Forrest M. Frosty Landon, executive editor and vice president, the Roanoke (Va.) Times & World-News, July 14, 1994, and Mike Blanton, publisher, the (Christiansburg, Va.) News, July 1, 1994.

21. Blanton interview.

22. Landon and Blanton interviews.

23. Landon interview. The Roanoke newspaper had established a world wide web home page by early 1995. The URL is http://www.infi.net/roatimes/ index.html.

24. Chi-square = 28.431, df = 3, p

25. Chi-square = 11.083, df = 2, p

26. Chi-square = 15.566, df = 2, p

27. Elizabeth M. Perse and Douglas A. Ferguson, The Impact of the Newer Television Technologies on Television Satisfaction. Journalism Quarterly, Winter 1993: p. 846.

28. Statement attributed to James K. Batten, Knight-Ridder chief executive, in Tom Koch, Computers vs. Community. Quill, May 1994, p. 19.

29. Koch.

30. For examples of specific newspaper projects in community building, see Tom Koch, op.cit. pp. 18-22.

31. General references resources are located on many easy-to-use, menu-driven university gopher servers. Some examples: University of Michigan Libraries

Host: gopher.lib.umich.edu

, University of California-Santa Barbara Library

Host: ucsbuxa.ucsb.edu

; North Carolina State University Library

Host: dewey.lib.ncsu.edu

; The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Host: lib.utk.edu

; Library of Congress

Host:marvel.loc.gov

. Yet another collection of desk references, including an acronym dictionary, the Daily Federal Register, desk reference tools from Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Yale and other universities, library catalogs, Internet and law library resources, is the Solinet Gopher

Host:sol1.solinet.net

. From the gopher menu, select “On-line Ready Reference.”

32. Journalists can be linked with subject experts at more than 100 colleges, universities, industrial research laboratories and government-sponsored scientific institutions thorough the Internet-linked cooperative called ProfNet. For more information, send an electronic mail query to Profnet(at)ccmail.sunysb.edu.

33. Internet Sources of Government Information can be retrieved via Gopher, anonymous FTP, and e-mail. The guide can be obtgained via Gopher or FTP from the University of Michigan’s Clearinghouse of Subject-Oriented Internet Resource Guides. For information about members of Congress on the Internet, FTP to nifty.andrew.cmu.edu. Once connected, look in the file: /pub/QRD/qrd/info/GOVT/congress-103.

34. Electronic mail can be addressed to the White House at president(at)whitehouse.gov or vice.president(at)whitehouse.gov.

35. For a list of information sources on the Internet dealing with computer-mediated communication, retrieve the list compiled by John December, which is available via anonymous ftp

Host: ftp.rpi.edu; File: pub/communications/internet-cmc.

36. For information about experiences of newspapers that were online by early 1995, see Wendell Cochran, Searching for right mixture. Quill, May 1995, pp. 36-39.

Rebekah V. Bromley is assistant professor in the department of communications studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg. Dorothy Bowles is professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Copyright Ohio University Spring 1995

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