Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

M.A. in Journalism

First Advisor

Kristen A. Swain

Second Advisor

Evangeline W. Robinson

Abstract

This study attempts to examine the attitudes, application and results of Mississippi newspapers’ and others’ use of social media. The goals are to determine the worth of social media to Mississippi newspapers, and to try to identify if there is any anecdotal or other information linking the use of social media to increased readership (print or electronic) and ad sales. Additional goals are to identify if there are any innovative or creative ways newspapers are utilizing social media so that these methods may be employed by other newspapers. The diffusion of innovations theory is an important aspect of this study, and is inherent in much of the survey questions and results collected. The final goal of the study is to determine a general sense of the worth of social media expressed in the attitudes of various Mississippi newspaper personnel. The study was conducted via a Qualtrics survey distributed directly to 33 Mississippi newspaper editors and reporters, and via invitation on various listservs and social media platforms. There were 68 responses. The study found that despite the perception that the adoption of social media platforms by newspapers had no tangible effect upon either advertising sales nor circulation, newspapers are generally satisfied with their use of social media and are applying these platforms in new and creative ways. This study is important because prior to this date, no such research has been conducted specifically pertaining to Mississippi newspapers.

Concentration/Emphasis

Track: Academic

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