Papperstidningens överlevnad i ett nytt medielandskap
En kvantitativ innehållsanalys av tidningarnas förstasidor
The aim of this thesis is to analyze what content the newspapers choose to put on their frontpages, in order to maintain their current reader and at the same time gain new ones.
In order to do this the thesis is based on a quantitative analysis of the frontpages of four big Swedish newspapers; Aftonbladet, Dagens Nyheter, Expressen and Svenska Dagbladet. Two of them are distributed every morning to its paying subscribers, and two of them are distributed to the stores during the day and are thereby being financed by the single buyers who later buy them. Thus, the nature of these newspapers is very different, and therefore one could also assume that the frontpages of them differs too. In total 56 frontpages were part of this study – that is two synthetic weeks of news analyzed. To make the method replicable the study contains further explanations of thoughts and procedures.
The study is based on earlier research on the newspapers’ frontpages and theories of news valuation, theories about changing media habits, digitalization and commercialization, research about the format changes that has affected the newspapers, research about new kinds of journalism – such as slow or constructive journalism, research about media logic and targeting audiences, research about the Swedish journalists and their interests and ideals, theories about the media’s economic challenges and also theories about the changes that are affecting media.
One can say that the newspapers are battling on several fronts for their survival. The demographic composition of the buyers makes their readers become older and older. At the same time the newspapers are faced with an ultimatum: find new readers or die. Meanwhile big changes are transforming the structure of the media market, where the digitalization make the newspapers more and more unattractive at the same time as more free alternatives are offered online – making even the advertising revenue difficult.
A conclusion one can make from this study is that the frontpages are the display window for the newspapers. It is their way to reach out to the audience and therefore they play an important role in their existence. But even though big changes have occurred in the media landscape, the newspapers are covering more or less the same subjects as back in the
80’s. Politics, economy and crime are the most occurring subjects and a story has a bigger chance of making it to the first page if it contains negativity, surprises and personification. One can also notice tendencies of using different kinds of journalism – such as slow or constructive journalism – in order to be competitive on the market for buyers and subscribers.