AEJMC Archives

AEJMC Archives


View:

Next Message | Previous Message
Next in Topic | Previous in Topic
Next by Same Author | Previous by Same Author
Chronologically | Most Recent First
Proportional Font | Monospaced Font

Options:

Join or Leave AEJMC
Reply | Post New Message
Search Archives


Subject: AEJ 96 KingJ VC Satisfaction with the appearance of community newspapers
From: Elliott Parker <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:AEJMC Conference Papers <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 22 Dec 1996 10:55:18 EST
Content-Type:text/plain
Parts/Attachments:
Parts/Attachments

text/plain (1726 lines)


            How Media Use and Demographics Affect
            Satisfaction with the Appearance of Community Newspapers
 
            by John Mark King, Assistant Professor, LSU; 13421 Briargrove Ave.,
            Baton Rouge, LA  70810;  504/767-8973 home; 504/388-2216 office;
            e mail:  [log in to unmask] or [log in to unmask]
 
            Single page abstract
 
                This study examined the effects of demographics and media use
variables on satisfaction with the appearance of small community daily
newspapers.  Independent demographic variables were age, education and income.
Independent variables measuring media use variables were time spent with
television, presence of cable TV in the home, time spent reading magazines and
readership of large visual metro newspapers and USA Today.  Dependent variables
were Likert 5-point scales measuring satisfaction with the appearance of the
newspapers including interesting, exciting, uncluttered, colorful, pleasant,
fresh, modern, professional, appealing, strong, attractive and overall
appearance.
                A pooled survey of 752 randomly selected subscribers of two small
daily newspapers in Kansas was used to test seven hypotheses.  Results,
determined through regression analyses, showed that time spent with television,
presence of cable TV in the home and time spent with magazines had little impact
on satisfaction with the appearance of the local daily newspapers.  Readership
of visual metro newspapers or USA Today had a somewhat negative impact on
satisfaction with appearance.  Age had the strongest effect.  As age increased,
satisfaction with appearance increased on nine of the 12 appearance variables.
Education and income had some negative impact on satisfaction with appearance.
                The author recommended that editors and publishers should determine
the demographic make-up of their readers to help guide their decisions on visual
communication changes in the small community daily newspaper.  Further research
in natural settings to measure perceptions of visual communication in newspapers
was also advocated by the author.
 
 
                 How Media Use and Demographics Affect Satisfaction with the
Appearance of Community Newspapers,
 
 
            How Media Use and Demographics Affect
            Satisfaction with the Appearance of Community Newspapers
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
            A Research Paper
            Presented to the
            Visual Communication Division of the AEJMC
            1996 Convention
            Anaheim, Calif.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
            by John Mark King, Ph.D.
            Assistant Professor
            Manship School of Mass Communication
            Louisiana State University
            Introduction
                Today's newspaper reader is bombarded with a world full of visual
media.  Network and local television, cable television, magazines, newspapers in
medium and large markets and USA Today all present the user with bold and
colorful visual communication.  All of this creates challenges for newspaper
publishers and editors, visual communication educators and visual communication
researchers.
                Many newspapers have responded to the visual competition by
expanding use of color, graphics, dominant photographs, stylistic typography and
information graphics all organized into highly visual packaged news.  Many
journalism and mass communications departments, schools and colleges have
incorporated visual communication courses into curricula to teach journalism and
mass communication students foundations and skills of visual communication.
Visual communication researchers have responded to the visual changes in
communication by devising content analysis studies, experiments and surveys to
try to asses the effects and industry trends concerning visual communication in
newspapers.
                Newspaper editors and publishers at small daily newspapers are
faced with the challenge of presenting news, information and entertainment in
print form to readers who are constantly bombarded with visual media from all
directions.  The question of interest here is whether use of other media such as
television, cable television, magazines and large metro newspapers and USA Today
have an impact on satisfaction with the appearance of small daily newspapers.
How demographics such as age, income and education impact satisfaction with
appearance is also important.
                Previous visual communication research applied to newspapers has
suggested that readers are attracted to visuals in newspapers and positively
evaluate papers that devote more space to visuals.  Most of these studies have
used experimental methods to test the effects of various approaches to visual
communication on receivers.  Other lines of inquiry have investigated visual
communication from the perspective of the message, through content analysis.
These studies have shown generally that newspapers are using more visuals and
more color than in previous years.  Some studies have used surveys to measure
opinions about visual communication.
                Only a  few studies have measured reader responses concerning
satisfaction with visual communication.  Most of these have measured
satisfaction with the appearance of manipulated versions of newspapers in
controlled laboratory settings.  Other experiments have tested the effects of
various visual elements on reader responses such as recall of information,
attention, understanding. comprehension or retrieval of information.
                It has been demonstrated that readers in experimental situations do
seem to prefer papers with more visuals and more color.  It is not clear,
however, how media use and demographics impact on reader satisfaction with the
appearance of newspapers that readers read on a regular basis.  Measures of
reader satisfaction with the appearance of  newspapers in a real-life situation,
the dependent measure employed in the present study, is one indication of actual
readers' response to actual newspapers' use and treatment of a variety of visual
elements.  Independent variables such as media use and demographics which could
impact on readers' satisfaction with the appearance of their newspaper, were
included as well.
 
            Literature Review
                The literature concerning visual communication and reader
satisfaction with the appearance of newspapers has generally taken experimental
or survey approaches.
                Several experimental studies have included appearance variables as
part of the research findings.  Price[1] found that complex newspaper designs
did not increase readership nor comprehension nor provide higher ratings of
"interestingness" nor lower ratings on "pleasingness."  Siskind[2] concluded
that contemporary well-designed newspapers were preferred over other designs.
Results of a study by Click and Stempel[3] showed that on 19 of  20 semantic
differential scales, color pages were rated higher than black and white pages.
Color pages were deemed more pleasant, valuable, interesting, fair, truthful,
unbiased, responsible, exciting, fresh, easy, neat, colorful, bold, powerful and
modern.  Black and white pages were viewed as more tense.
                Bohle and Garcia[4] found that initial eye movement was toward
photos, whether in color or black and white.  Readers tended to gravitate toward
spot color next.  Pages that used a great deal of color resulted in higher
evaluations on variables such as important, interesting, pleasant, easy, fresh,
colorful, exciting, bold, powerful, loud, active and modern.  Garcia and
Bohle[5] expanded their findings on the previous study in a report published by
the Poynter Institute in which they noted that more educated respondents were
less attracted to color and that respondents from cities in which colorful
newspapers were published rated color pages higher.
                Smith[6] found that color and modern design attracted readers on
several appearance variables without reducing important journalistic variables
such as accuracy, importance and responsibility if those readers were accustomed
to colorful, modern pages.  Using stepwise regression analysis, Wanta and Gao[7]
found that increased numbers of photographs and larger graphics increased
attractiveness.
                Tankard[8] determined that chartoons (cartoons and charts combined)
and three dimensional graphs were more appealing than plain graphs, but the
flashier graphics did not provide any more information gain than the plain
graphs.  Kelley[9] tested accuracy of recall between information graphics with
low data-ink ratio and high data ink-ratio. The data-ink principle, devised by
Tufte, basically says that the ink in an information graphic should represent
information drawn from statistical or numerical information presented and not be
cluttered up with chart junk.  Like Tankard, Kelley found no differences in
recall between low data-ink and high data-ink graphics, suggesting that
decorative elements in the graphics do not diminish information gain.
Pasternack and Utt[10] concluded that readers expect information graphics to
provide them with information, not just color and an attractive package.
                Several studies examined the effects of photos on reader responses.
Wolf and Grotta[11] found that photos with more action may not aid in recall of
information, but may attract readers to stories.  Wanta[12] demonstrated that
larger photos may provide an agenda-setting effect.  Huh[13] tested the effects
of photo size on reader attention and found that as picture size increased
readership increased.
                A few survey studies have also examined newspaper appearance.
McCombs, Mauro and Son[14] surveyed 375 readers of the Richmond News Leader and
concluded that the best predictor for readership of stories was placement on the
front page of a section.  Photographs were also noted as a positive predictor of
readership.
                Gladney[15] reported that a national survey of 257 newspaper
editors at all circulation levels revealed that visual appeal ranked fourth on
the list of content standards, behind strong local coverage, accuracy and good
writing.  However, 45 percent rated visual appeal as essential.
                Heller[16] found that respondents in a survey about design of small
circulation dailies (under 25,000) identified overall design as the most
important aspect of visual communication for a small daily newspaper followed by
front page design, photography, section design, typography, feature design,
color use, information graphics and illustrations.
                Hartman[17] carried out a survey of 323 respondents, all 18-35
year-olds, and found that half of those who read USA Today felt that other
papers should emulate the style and design of USA Today.
                Perhaps the most extensive surveys about newspaper design have been
conducted by Sandra Utt and Steve Pasternack.  Over the past decade, they have
completed three national surveys to determine the appearance of newspaper front
pages in the United States.  The first study by Utt and Pasternack[18], a survey
of editors at 78 newspapers with circulation of more than 25,000, found that
about two-thirds of the papers used a modular design format.  Eighty-one percent
of the editors said they were satisfied with the way their front pages looked,
but only 53 percent said American newspaper front pages in general were
attractive.
                The second survey by Utt and Pasternack[19] gathered responses from
93 editors.  Eighty-seven percent said their paper was more attractive than when
the first study was done.  Two-thirds thought readers were concerned about
graphic design.  Even though they rated USA Today fairly low on attractiveness,
half of the editors said they refer to the paper when considering design ideas.
                The most recent survey by Pasternack and Utt[20] noted many changes
in the appearance of newspaper front pages.  Use of color had increased to the
point that 75 percent use four-color photos everyday;  modular format had grown
to 82 percent usage;  all used a dominant photo on page one each day; 78 percent
said they used more information graphics than they did five years previously.
Eighty-seven percent reported that their papers looked better than five years
before.  Interestingly, although 94 percent of the editors agreed that
appearance can be critical in competitive situations when readers decide which
paper to read only 47 percent had ever surveyed readers' reactions to their
newspapers' design.  Overall, the authors concluded that newspaper editors were
more concerned about visual communication than ever before.
 
            Hypotheses
                The above literature review demonstrates that questions about the
impact of media use and demographics have not been fully answered by previous
research.  Seven hypotheses were designed to test the influence of media use and
demographics on measures of satisfaction with appearance.  Media use variables
were time spent with television daily, the presence or non-presence of cable TV
in the home, time spent with magazines weekly and readership of visual
newspapers available in the area including the Wichita Eagle, the Kansas City
Star, the Topeka Capital-Journal and USA Today.  Demographic variables included
in the study were age, income and education.
                H1:     Increased time watching television will result in decreases on
measures of                     satisfaction with the appearance of the newspaper.
 
                Hypothesis one centered on the influence of time spent watching
television, measured in daily minutes, on satisfaction with the appearance of
the newspaper.  It was reasoned that increased time spent watching television
would result in a decrease on measures of satisfaction with the appearance of
the newspaper due to the general high quality of visuals in expensive television
productions.  The idea here was that readers who spend a lot of time watching
television would be less satisfied with the comparable quality of visual
communication in their local community newspaper.
 
                H2:     The presence of cable television in the home will result in
decreases on                            measures of satisfaction with the appearance of the newspaper.
 
                A very similar line of reasoning was evident in hypothesis two.
Cable television, which uses production techniques similar to local and network
television, also presents many photos, graphics and color images.  Cable TV was
predicted to have a very similar impact on satisfaction with the appearance of
the community newspaper.  Since cable TV involves additional expenses, the
presence of cable TV in the home suggests more attention to television, which
could have a negative effect on satisfaction with visual communication in the
community newspaper.
 
                H3:     Increased time spent reading magazines will result in decreases
on measures                     of satisfaction with the appearance of the newspaper.
 
                Time spent reading magazines was the independent variable in
hypothesis three, which predicted that more time spent reading magazines would
result in decreases on measures of satisfaction with the appearance of the
community newspaper.  Readers who see high quality reproduction of color
photographs, color graphics and other forms of visual communication in magazines
may not be as satisfied with the visual communication produced by their small
circulation daily newspapers.
 
                H4:     Readership of visual newspapers (Wichita Eagle, Kansas City
Star, Topeka                    Capital-Journal and USA Today) will result in decreases on
measures                                of satisfaction with the appearance of the newspaper.
 
                The final media use variable concerned readership of large metro
newspapers available in the area or USA Today.  Hypothesis four predicted the
same general trend as the previous hypotheses about media use.  The theoretical
idea here was that readers of small daily community newspapers who also see
large, visual, colorful and graphic newspapers such as metro dailies or USA
Today may be dissatisfied with the way their local newspapers handle photos,
graphics, color and design and may in turn be less satisfied with the appearance
of their local newspaper than readers who are not exposed to sophisticated
visual communication in large metro newspapers or USA Today.
 
                H5:     Increases in age will result in increases on measures of
satisfaction with the                   appearance of the newspaper.
 
                Demographic influences of age, income and education were considered
in the remaining hypotheses.  Hypothesis five predicted that there would be more
satisfaction with visual communication as age increased.  Conversely, younger
readers should have less satisfaction with the appearance of their community
newspaper.  Clearly, it appears reasonable to predict that younger viewers who
grew up in the age of television, cable TV, color magazines, video games,
computers, on-line information services and colorful metro newspapers would be
less satisfied with the visual presentation they receive from their local
community newspaper.
 
                H6:     Increases in income will result in decreases on measures of
satisfaction with the                   appearance of the newspaper.
 
                Income, the independent variable in hypothesis six, was predicted
to have a negative influence on satisfaction with the appearance of the
newspaper, the dependent variable.  The reasoning here was that since people of
higher incomes are more likely to be exposed to well-designed newspapers they
would react less favorably to their local newspaper regarding satisfaction with
appearance.
 
                H7:     Increases in education will result in decreases on measures of
satisfaction with                       the appearance of the newspaper.
 
                The same rationale used to predict the influence of income on
satisfaction with appearance was also employed in predictions on the influence
of education.  Hypothesis seven predicted that increases in education would
result in less satisfaction with the appearance of  the newspaper since more
education may result in more awareness that the local community newspaper does
not match the general visual appeal and visual sophistication of large metro
newspapers nor USA Today.
 
            Methodology
                A telephone survey of 752 randomly selected subscribers of two
small daily newspapers was conducted to test the hypotheses.  The two newspapers
selected were the Chanute Tribune and the Iola Register, both small circulation
dailies (under 10,000 circulation) from demographically similar communities in
Kansas.  The next-birthday calling method, researched by Salmon and Nichols[21],
was used to randomize the respondents by gender.  A total of 903 households was
called to reach the sample size of 752, for a response rate of 83 percent.
                The two newspapers were also selected on the basis of differing
approaches to visual communication.  A content analysis of a constructed
week[22] of both papers determined that the Iola paper took a traditional (less
visual) approach to visual communication, and the Chanute paper took a modern
(more visual) approach.  Subsequent regression analysis showed that there were
few significant differences in satisfaction with the appearance of the two
newspapers.  Responses from subscribers of both papers were then pooled to test
the overall impact of media use and demographics on satisfaction with
appearance.
                The dependent variables included whether the appearance of the
newspaper was perceived as interesting, exciting, uncluttered, colorful,
pleasant, fresh, modern, appealing, strong, attractive and good overall.
Measures were recorded on a 5-point Likert scale (1=strongly disagree,
2=disagree, 3=no opinion, 4=agree, 5=strongly agree).  Independent variables
were media use including minutes spent with television daily, presence of cable
TV in the home, minutes spent reading magazines weekly and readership of large
visual newspapers available in the area (Wichita Eagle, Kansas City Star, Topeka
Capital-Journal and USA Today).  Demographic independent variables were age,
income and education.
 
            Results
 
                H1:     Increased time watching television will result in decreases on
measures of                     satisfaction with the appearance of the newspaper.
 
                Hypothesis one was supported on only one variable, exciting.  As
Table 1 shows, respondents rated their papers .08 lower on exciting, significant
at less than .05.  None of the other regression tests were significant,
suggesting that increased time watching television may have only slight impact
on measures of satisfaction with the appearance of the community newspaper.
 
 
            Table 1:    Regression analysis of minutes of television viewing
daily on measures of                            satisfaction with the appearance of the newspaper
 
            Independent variable:  Minutes of television viewing daily
 
 
            Dependent Variable
            B
            Beta
            t
            R2
            F
            p
            Interesting
            .00
            .02
            .59
            .00
            .35
            .56
            Exciting
            -.00
            -.08
            2.12
            .01
            4.50
            >.05
            Uncluttered
            -.00
            -.01
            .34
            .00
            .12
            .73
            Colorful
            -.00
            -.01
            .26
            .00
            .07
            .79
            Pleasant
            -.00
            -.01
            .30
            .00
            .09
            .77
            Fresh
            -.00
            -.03
            .87
            .00
            .76
            .38
            Modern
            .00
            .03
            .68
            .00
            .46
            .50
            Professional
            -.00
            -.00
            .02
            .00
            .00
            .99
            Appealing
            -.00
            -.02
            .65
            .00
            .42
            .52
            Strong
            .00
            .01
            .36
            .00
            .13
            .71
            Attractive
            .00
            .02
            .54
            .00
            .30
            .59
            Overall Appearance
            -.00
            -.02
            .58
            .00
            .33
            .56
 
            H2: The presence of cable television in the home will result in
decreases on measures                   of satisfaction with the appearance of the newspaper.
 
                Cable television had no impact on satisfaction with the appearance
of the newspaper.  As shown in Table 2, hypothesis two was not supported.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
            Table 2:    Regression analysis of cable TV in the home on measures
of satisfaction                                 with the appearance of the newspaper
 
            Independent variable:  Cable TV in the home
 
 
            Dependent Variable
            B
            Beta
            t
            R2
            F
            p
            Interesting
            .01
            .00
            .08
            .00
            .01
            .94
            Exciting
            -.03
            -.00
            .25
            .00
            .06
            .81
            Uncluttered
            .01
            .00
            .12
            .00
            .01
            .91
            Colorful
            -.05
            -.02
            .45
            .00
            .20
            .66
            Pleasant
            -.09
            -.06
            1.52
            .00
            2.30
            .13
            Fresh
            .08
            .05
            1.24
            .00
            1.53
            .22
            Modern
            .10
            .05
            4.37
            .00
            1.86
            .17
            Professional
            .03
            .02
            .46
            .00
            .21
            .64
            Appealing
            .02
            .01
            .24
            .00
            .06
            .81
            Strong
            .06
            .02
            .66
            .00
            .43
            .51
            Attractive
            -.00
            -.00
            .04
            .00
            .00
            .97
            Overall Appearance
            .09
            .06
            1.64
            .00
            2.67
            .10
 
 
                H3:     Increased time spent reading magazines will result in decreases
on measures                     of satisfaction with the appearance of the newspaper
 
                In hypothesis three, it was predicted that increased time spent
reading magazines would result in decreases in satisfaction with the appearance
of the newspaper because readers of magazines generally are exposed to well
designed, attractive, colorful publications.  It was reasoned that this would
result in less satisfaction with the appearance of the community newspaper.
Table 3 provides no support for this hypothesis.  The only significant
regression was on the attractive variable, but the result was not in the
predicted direction.  As time spent reading magazines increased, perceptions of
the community newspaper as attractive increased, rather than decreased, as
predicted.  None of the other regressions on the appearance variables with time
spent reading magazines were significant.
 
 
            Table 3:    Regression analysis of minutes spent reading magazines
weekly on                                       measures of satisfaction with the appearance of the newspaper
 
            Independent variable:  Minutes spent reading magazines weekly
 
 
            Dependent Variable
            B
            Beta
            t
            R2
            F
            p
            Interesting
            .00
            .03
            .93
            .00
            .86
            .35
            Exciting
            .00
            .04
            1.07
            .00
            1.16
            .28
            Uncluttered
            .00
            .03
            .75
            .00
            .55
            .46
            Colorful
            -.00
            -.04
            1.21
            .00
            1.06
            .30
            Pleasant
            -.00
            -.00
            .04
            .00
            .00
            .97
            Fresh
            .00
            .02
            .47
            .00
            .22
            .64
            Modern
            .00
            .01
            .29
            .00
            .09
            .77
            Professional
            .00
            .33
            .90
            .00
            .82
            .37
            Appealing
            .00
            .04
            1.06
            .00
            1.11
            .29
            Strong
            -.00
            -.04
            1.17
            .00
            1.36
            .24
            Attractive
            .00
            .08
            2.14
            .00
            4.60
            <.05
            Overall Appearance
            .00
            .04
            .98
            .00
            .96
            .32
 
 
                H4:     Readership of visual newspapers (Wichita Eagle, Kansas City
Star, Topeka                    Capital-Journal and USA Today) will result in decreases on
measures                                of satisfaction with the appearance of the newspaper
 
                Hypothesis four predicted that readers of visual metropolitan
newspapers available in the area or USA Today would be less satisfied with the
appearance of the community newspaper.  As is evident in Table 4, readers of the
Wichita paper rated their community paper .09 lower on colorful, significant at
less than .01.  Readers of the Kansas City paper rated their local community
paper .07 lower on fresh and .08 lower on strong, both significant at less than
.05.  Readers of USA Today rated their local community paper lower on exciting,
significant at less than .05; .09 lower on uncluttered, significant at less than
.01; .08 lower on modern, significant at less than .05; and .14 lower on
strong,
significant at less than .001.  Readership of the Topeka paper had no
significant impact on any of the appearance variables.
                Readership of USA Today had larger significant impact on more
appearance variables than any of the other large metro papers or use of other
media in the study.  Clearly, readers who were exposed to the visual design and
use of color in USA Today desire some visual changes from their community
newspaper.
 
 
            Table 4:    Regression analysis of readership of the Wichita Eagle,
Kansas City Star,                               Topeka Capital-Journal and USA Today on measures of
satisfaction with                               the appearance of the newspaper
 
 
            Independent variable:  Wichita Eagle
 
            Dependent Variable
            B
            Beta
            t
            R2
            F
            p
            Interesting
            -.04
            -.03
            .90
            .00
            .80
            .37
            Exciting
            -.08
            -.04
            1.12
            .00
            1.26
            .26
            Uncluttered
            .05
            .04
            1.11
            .00
            1.22
            .27
            Colorful
            -.18
            -.09
            2.52
            .01
            6.33
            <.01
            Pleasant
            -.07
            -.07
            1.88
            .00
            3.53
            .06
            Fresh
            -.02
            -.02
            .48
            .00
            .23
            .63
            Modern
            -.04
            -.03
            .86
            .00
            .74
            .39
            Professional
            .04
            .03
            .95
            .00
            .90
            .34
            Appealing
            .04
            .04
            1.00
            .00
            1.01
            .32
            Strong
            -.07
            -.04
            1.23
            .00
            1.51
            .22
            Attractive
            -.01
            -.01
            .29
            .00
            .09
            .77
            Overall Appearance
            .02
            .02
            .56
            .00
            .32
            .57
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
            Independent variable:  Kansas City Star
 
            Dependent Variable
            B
            Beta
            t
            R2
            F
            p
            Interesting
            -.00
            -.00
            .05
            .00
            .00
            .96
            Exciting
            -.03
            -.01
            .37
            .00
            .14
            .71
            Uncluttered
            .01
            .00
            .13
            .00
            .02
            .90
            Colorful
            -.09
            -.04
            1.19
            .00
            1.41
            .24
            Pleasant
            .04
            .04
            1.15
            .00
            1.33
            .25
            Fresh
            -.08
            -.07
            2.04
            .01
            4.15
            <.05
            Modern
            -.02
            -.01
            .37
            .00
            .14
            .71
            Professional
            .02
            .02
            .55
            .00
            .30
            .58
            Appealing
            .04
            .03
            .84
            .00
            .71
            .40
            Strong
            -.12
            -.08
            2.26
            .01
            5.11
            <.05
            Attractive
            -.00
            -.00
            .04
            .00
            .00
            .96
            Overall Appearance
            -.02
            -.02
            .60
            .00
            .35
            .55
 
 
            Independent variable:  Topeka Capital-Journal
 
            Dependent Variable
            B
            Beta
            t
            R2
            F
            p
            Interesting
            .04
            .02
            .42
            .00
            .17
            .68
            Exciting
            .08
            .02
            .51
            .00
            .26
            .61
            Uncluttered
            .00
            .00
            .05
            .00
            .00
            .96
            Colorful
            -.05
            -.01
            .34
            .00
            .12
            .73
            Pleasant
            .14
            .07
            1.80
            .00
            3.23
            .07
            Fresh
            -.06
            -.02
            .63
            .00
            .40
            .53
            Modern
            .02
            .01
            .16
            .00
            .03
            .87
            Professional
            -.05
            -.02
            .63
            .00
            .40
            .52
            Appealing
            .12
            .04
            1.21
            .00
            1.47
            .23
            Strong
            -.12
            -.04
            1.07
            .00
            1.13
            .29
            Attractive
            -.08
            -.03
            .73
            .00
            .53
            .47
            Overall Appearance
            .11
            .06
            1.56
            .00
            2.44
            .12
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
            Independent variable:  USA Today
 
            Dependent Variable
            B
            Beta
            t
            R2
            F
            p
            Interesting
            -.11
            -.07
            1.90
            .00
            3.60
            .06
            Exciting
            -.19
            -.07
            2.02
            .01
            4.08
            <.05
            Uncluttered
            -.14
            -.09
            2.51
            .01
            6.32
            <.01
            Colorful
            -.19
            -.07
            1.91
            .00
            3.64
            .06
            Pleasant
            -.01
            -.01
            .27
            .00
            .07
            .79
            Fresh
            -.10
            -.07
            1.80
            .00
            3.25
            .07
            Modern
            -.13
            -.08
            2.19
            .01
            4.78
            <.05
            Professional
            -.01
            -.01
            .16
            .00
            .03
            .87
            Appealing
            -.05
            -.03
            .90
            .00
            .81
            .37
            Strong
            -.27
            -.14
            3.79
            .02
            14.34
            <.001
            Attractive
            -.08
            -.04
            1.17
            .00
            1.38
            .24
            Overall Appearance
            -.07
            -.06
            1.64
            .00
            2.68
            .10
 
                H5:     Increases in age will result in increases on measures of
satisfaction with the                   appearance of the newspaper.
 
                Hypothesis five predicted that as age increased measures of
satisfaction with the appearance of the newspaper would also increase.  Nine of
the 12 regressions in Table 5 provide strong support for this hypothesis.  As
age increased one standard deviation, perceptions of the newspaper as having an
interesting appearance increased .15, significant at less than .001.  As age
increased exciting increased .09, significant at less than .01.  Colorful
increased .24 as age increased, significant at less than .001.  Fresh increased
.10, significant at less than .01.  Modern increased .16, significant at less
than .001.  Appealing increased .12, significant at less than .01.  Strong
increased .14, significant at less than .001.  Attractive increased .22, and
overall appearance increased .13, significant at less than .001.  There were no
significant increases on uncluttered, pleasant and professional.
                Strong evidence was provided for the hypothesis that as age
increased measures of satisfaction with the appearance of the newspaper would
also increase.  Moreover, age had the strongest impact of any of the independent
variables.  Clearly, age had an impact on perceptions of the appearance of the
newspaper.  Older readers rated the newspaper higher on appearance variables
than younger readers.
 
 
            Table 5:    Regression analysis of age on measures of satisfaction
with the                                        appearance of the newspaper
 
 
            Independent variable:  Age
 
            Dependent Variable
            B
            Beta
            t
            R2
            F
            p
            Interesting
            .00
            .15
            4.10
            .02
            16.84
            <.001
            Exciting
            .00
            .09
            2.54
            .01
            6.45
            <.01
            Uncluttered
            .00
            .06
            1.57
            .00
            2.45
            .12
            Colorful
            .01
            .24
            6.74
            .06
            45.48
            <.001
            Pleasant
            .00
            .05
            1.26
            .00
            1.59
            .21
            Fresh
            .00
            .10
            2.75
            .01
            7.58
            <.01
            Modern
            .01
            .16
            4.25
            .02
            18.09
            <.001
            Professional
            .00
            .05
            1.30
            .00
            1.69
            .19
            Appealing
            .00
            .12
            3.18
            .01
            10.12
            <.01
            Strong
            .01
            .14
            3.76
            .02
            14.15
            <.001
            Attractive
            .01
            .22
            5.98
            .05
            35.77
            <.001
            Overall Appearance
            .00
            .13
            3.52
            .02
            12.37
            <.001
 
                H6:     Increases in income will result in decreases on measures of
satisfaction with the                   appearance of the newspaper.
 
                Hypothesis six was supported on some of the independent variables.
Increases in income appeared to have statistically significant impact on
measures of satisfaction with the appearance of the newspaper, as noted in Table
7.  As income increased one standard deviation, interesting appearance decreased
.10, significant at less than .01.
                 A larger impact was seen on perceptions of the paper as colorful.
On that variable, as income rose, perceptions of the newspaper as colorful
decreased .21, significant at less than .001.  Strong decreased .13, significant
at less than .001.  Attractive decreased .06, significant at less than .05.
Other dependent variables including exciting, uncluttered, pleasant, fresh,
modern, professional, appealing and overall appearance did not appear to be
influenced by income.
 
            Table 6:    Regression analysis of income on measures of satisfaction
with the                                        appearance of the newspaper
 
 
            Independent variable:  Income
 
            Dependent Variable
            B
            Beta
            t
            R2
            F
            p
            Interesting
            -.04
            -.10
            2.75
            .01
            7.56
            <.01
            Exciting
            -.04
            -.06
            1.63
            .00
            2.66
            .10
            Uncluttered
            .01
            .04
            .96
            .00
            .92
            .34
            Colorful
            -.14
            -.21
            5.70
            .04
            32.54
            <.001
            Pleasant
            -.00
            -.01
            .26
            .00
            .07
            .79
            Fresh
            -.01
            -.03
            .81
            .00
            .65
            .42
            Modern
            -.02
            -.05
            1.22
            .00
            1.50
            .22
            Professional
            -.01
            -.03
            .90
            .00
            .80
            .37
            Appealing
            -.00
            -.01
            .30
            .00
            .09
            .76
            Strong
            -.06
            -.13
            3.45
            .02
            11.87
            <.001
            Attractive
            -.04
            -.09
            2.42
            .01
            5.86
            <.05
            Overall Appearance
            -.02
            -.06
            1.67
            .00
            2.77
            .10
 
                H7:     Increases in education will result in decreases on measures of
satisfaction with                       the appearance of the newspaper.
 
                Hypothesis seven posited that as education increased, subscribers
would become more critical of the general appearance of the community newspaper,
perhaps because of exposure to larger visual metro newspapers.  Even though more
educated people may be more interested in information to be gained from the
newspaper, the reasoning behind this hypothesis was that more educated people
would be more aware of the visual sophistication used by larger newspapers and
would therefore rate their local community newspaper lower on satisfaction with
the appearance of the newspaper.  Table 7 provides support for the hypothesis.
                Table 7 shows that as education increased, four of the appearance
variables decreased as predicted.  Perceptions of the newspaper as exciting
decreased .08 with each standard deviation increase in education, significant at
less than .05.  Perceptions of the newspaper as colorful decreased .18,
significant at less than .001.  Perceptions of the newspaper as modern decreased
.11, significant at less than .01.  As education increased one standard
deviation, perceptions of the newspaper as strong decreased .12, significant at
less than .001.
                Perceptions of the newspaper as appealing increased .09,
significant at less than .001, opposite of the predicted result.  The remaining
variables including interesting, uncluttered, pleasant, fresh, professional,
attractive nor overall appearance appeared not to be influenced by education.
                Perhaps the four variables on which education showed significant
effects including exciting, colorful, modern and strong, represent the stronger
of the appearance variables and may be the ones most critical of the newspaper.
The other appearance variables may represent weaker or softer variables, which
respondents may have been more likely to be agreeable to.  For example, it
probably is much easier to agree that a paper looks pleasant, but tougher to
agree that it looks exciting, colorful, modern or strong.  This seemed to be
especially true of more educated people and may help explain why more educated
people rated their local community newspaper lower on these dependent variables
measuring satisfaction with the appearance of the newspaper.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
            Table 7:    Regression analysis of education on measures of
satisfaction with the                           appearance of the newspaper
 
 
            Independent variable: Education
 
            Dependent Variable
            B
            Beta
            t
            R2
            F
            p
            Interesting
            -.02
            -.04
            1.22
            .00
            1.51
            .22
            Exciting
            -.04
            -.08
            2.22
            .01
            4.90
            <.05
            Uncluttered
            .01
            .02
            .42
            .00
            .18
            .67
            Colorful
            -.11
            -.18
            5.00
            .03
            25.01
            <.001
            Pleasant
            .01
            .03
            .88
            .00
            .77
            .38
            Fresh
            -.02
            -.05
            1.25
            .00
            1.56
            .21
            Modern
            -.04
            -.11
            2.99
            .01
            8.91
            <.01
            Professional
            .02
            .05
            1.27
            .00
            1.61
            .20
            Appealing
            .03
            .09
            2.33
            .01
            5.44
            <.05
            Strong
            -.05
            -.12
            3.33
            .01
            11.07
            <.001
            Attractive
            .01
            .02
            .66
            .00
            .43
            .51
            Overall Appearance
            .00
            .02
            .46
            .00
            .21
            .65
 
            Conclusions
                This study found increased use of other media, including
television, cable television and magazines, had little impact on readers'
satisfaction with the appearance of their local daily newspaper.  Increased time
spent watching television only appeared to result in lower reader perceptions of
the paper as having an exciting appearance.  This suggests that newspaper
readers may view television and newspapers as separate media entities.  Or,
perhaps those who watch a lot of television do not spend enough time with their
newspapers to formulate much of a critical view about the appearance of the
newspaper.
                Presence of cable television in the home had no impact on the
appearance variables.  Increased time spent reading magazines resulted in an
increase in perceptions of the newspaper as having an attractive appearance.
This increase was in the opposite direction of the prediction.  Increased time
spent reading magazines had no impact on the other 11 appearance variables,
again suggesting little influence on satisfaction with the appearance of the
newspaper.
                Of all the media use variables tested, readership of large visual
newspapers had the greatest impact on the appearance variables.  Readers of USA
Today rated their local daily paper lower on four appearance variables including
exciting, uncluttered, modern and strong.  This suggests that readers of USA
Today felt that their local newspaper did not live up to the visual standards of
USA Today in some regards.  Readers of the Wichita Eagle rated their papers
lower on the colorful variable.  Kansas City Star readers rated their local
papers as less strong and less fresh.  Readership of the Topeka Capital-Journal
resulted in no impact on the appearance variables.
                These findings suggest that readership of large visual newspapers
may have some impact on satisfaction with the appearance of the local newspaper.
Perhaps some of these readers, who get a steady diet of color, large photos,
information graphics and stylistic design from the larger newspapers, may come
to expect their local papers to keep up visually.
                Overall, the demographic variables had more impact on satisfaction
with the appearance of the local newspaper than the media use variables.  Age
had the strongest effect.  As age increased, nine of the 12 appearance variables
increased.  Older readers rated the appearance of their local paper as more
interesting, exciting, colorful, fresh, modern, appealing, strong, attractive
and better overall.  Clearly, age is a significant factor on satisfaction with
the appearance of the local newspaper.  Not only did age impact more of the
appearance variables, the strength of the impact of age was stronger than any of
the other independent variables.  For example, as age increased one standard
deviation, perceptions of the local newspaper as attractive increased .22 on a
five-point scale, a fairly large increase.  These findings suggest that younger
readers may need to see many visual changes before their satisfaction levels
increase.  Yet older readers seemed to be satisfied with the present appearance
of their local newspaper.
                As predicted, income impacted negatively on four of the appearance
variables including interesting appearance, colorful, strong and attractive.
Perhaps this means that some of the readers with more income were more likely to
be exposed to other visual papers such as large metro dailies and therefore were
more critical of their local paper's appearance on some of the variables.
                A similar pattern seemed to be at work with regard to education.
As education increased, decreases were evident on perceptions of the newspaper's
appearance as exciting, colorful, modern and strong.  Perhaps some of those with
more education were also more likely to read newspapers other than their local
community newspaper and recognized the appearance differences between large
metro papers and their local community newspaper.
                However, income and education did not show strong patterns of
influence because both had an effect on only four of the 12 appearance
variables, suggesting a weaker influence on appearance than age.  This may
demonstrate that those with more income and education are more concerned with
the content of the textual information than the content of the visual
information.
                Overall, the demographic variables, especially age, showed more
influence on satisfaction with the appearance of the local newspaper than any of
the other variables.  This suggests that age, income and education may have more
to do with satisfaction with appearance than any of the media use variables.
While there were statistically significant differences evident in the hypothesis
testing, it is fairly evident that the independent variables used in the study
did not fully explain the variance.  The highest R-square on any of the
regression analyses was .06, indicating that the independent variable explained
only 6 percent of the variance on the dependent variable.  It was apparent that
other factors must be at work to influence reader satisfaction with appearance
of newspapers.
 
            Recommendations
                Results from this study show that older readers are more satisfied
with the appearance of their local newspapers, while younger readers are less
satisfied.  The challenge for editors and publishers is to attract younger
readers without alienating older readers.  The answer to this dilemma is to
implement visual changes slowly so that young readers may become more interested
in looking at the newspaper and older readers have time to adjust to the visual
changes.
                Publishers and editors should work with researchers to determine
the demographic variables of their readers such as age, income and education.
For example, if most readers are highly educated, have high incomes and are
older, the editor and publisher might do well to concentrate more on providing
better coverage of issues important to the community and slowly implement visual
changes.  If most readers have less education, less income and are younger,
editors and publishers might want to consider a faster track to using more
visuals, larger visuals and more color.  In any event, design changes should
provide more information, not less.  Visuals should not be increased solely to
dress up the page, but to provide more visual information to complement the
verbal information.
                Readership of large visual newspapers and USA Today also should be
examined.  If a majority of a small daily newspaper's readers also read a large
visual newspaper or USA Today, the editor and publisher should consider
increasing the amount of visual communication to better meet the expectations of
these readers.
                Research should be conducted periodically to assess reader
satisfaction with the newspaper concerning visual and verbal communication.
Editors and publishers should also recognize that reader tastes may change.
Newspaper managers should stay aware of continuing academic research and conduct
their own research to determine needs and desires of their readers and how to
attract new readers.
                Educators should learn from this research that varying research
methods may turn up different results and they should recognize that reader
satisfaction with newspapers and visual communication is a fairly complicated
problem to solve.  Educators should stay abreast of research findings on visual
communication so that new knowledge can be imparted to students.
                Visual communication researchers should expand on the findings of
this study to further explore the effects of visual communication.  This
research shows that characteristics of the readers of the newspapers may have
more impact on satisfaction with visual communication than the design of the
newspaper.  More studies in natural settings concentrating on how demographics
of readers and other independent variables impact on satisfaction with visual
communication should also be undertaken.  Other important dependent variables,
in addition to satisfaction with the appearance of the newspaper, that should be
examined include satisfaction with and desire for illustrations, maps, color
photos and color graphics
 
             Notes
 
                1.  Henry Thomas Price, "The Effect of Newspaper Design
Complexity on Readership, Comprehension, Interestingness and Pleasingness,"
(Ph.D. diss., Michigan State University, 1972), abstract in Dissertation
Abstracts International 33 (1972): 9295A-6296A.
                2.  Theresa G. Siskind, "The Effect of Newspaper Design on
Reader Preferences," Journalism Quarterly, 56: 54-61 (Spring 1979).
                3.  J.W. Click and Guido H. Stemple III, "Reader Response to
Front Pages with Four-color Halftones," Journalism Quarterly, 53: 736-738
(Winter 1976).
                4.  Robert H. Bohle and Mario R. Garcia, "Reader Response to
Color Halftones and Spot Color in Newspaper Design," Journalism Quarterly, 64:
731-739 (Winter 1987).
                5.  Mario R. Garcia and Robert Bohle, "Poynter Research
Findings," in Color in American Newspapers (St.         Petersburg, FL: The Poynter
Institute For Media Studies, 1986), 32-42.
                6.  Ron F. Smith, "Black and White, Unread All Over?  How Design
& Color Affect Reader Judgment of Newspapers,"  Newspaper Research Journal, 10:
75-85 (Winter 1989).
                7.  Wayne Wanta and Dandan Gao, "Young Readers and the
Newspaper:  Information Recall and Perceived Enjoyment, Readability and
Attractiveness," Journalism Quarterly, 71: 926-936 (Winter 1994).
                8.  James W. Tankard, Jr., "Quantitative Graphics in
Newspapers," Journalism Quarterly, 64: 406-415 (Summer/Autumn 1987).
                9.    James D. Kelley, "The Data-Ink Ratio and Accuracy of
Newspaper Graphs," Journalism Quarterly, 66: 632-639 (Autumn 1989).
                10.    Steve Pasternack and Sandra H. Utt, "Reader Use &
Understanding of Newspaper Infographics," Newspaper Research Journal, 11: 28-41
(Spring 1990).
                11.  Rita Wolf and Gerald L. Grotta, "Images:  A Question of
Readership," Newspaper Research Journal, 6: 30-36 (Winter 1985).
                12.  Wayne Wanta, "The Effects of Dominant Photographs:  An
Agenda-Setting Experiment," Journalism Quarterly, 65: 107-111 (Spring 1988).
                13.  Hyun-Joo Lee Huh, "The Effect of Newspaper Picture Size,"
Visual Communication Quarterly," 1: 14-15 (Spring 1994).
                14.   Maxwell E. McCombs, John B. Mauro and Jinok Son,
"Predicting Newspaper Readership from Content   Characteristics:  A Replication,"
Newspaper Research Journal, 10: 25-31 (Fall 1988).
                15.  George A. Gladney, "Newspaper Excellence:  How Editors of
Small & Large Papers Judge Quality," Newspaper Research Journal, 11: 58-72
(Spring 1990).
                16.  Robert Heller, "Nine Great Small Paper Designs," Visual
Communication Quarterly, 1: 4-7
               (Summer 1994).
                17.   John K. Hartman, "USA Today and Young-Adult Readers:  Can
a New-Style Newspaper Win Them Back?" Newspaper Research Journal, 8: 1-15
(Winter 1987).
                18.  Sandra H. Utt and Steve Pasternack, "Front Pages of U.S.
Daily Newspapers," Journalism Quarterly, 61: 879-884 (Winter 1984).
                19.  Sandra H. Utt and Steve Pasternack, "How They Look:  An
Updated Study of American Newspaper Front Pages," Journalism Quarterly, 66:
621-627 (Autumn 1989).
                20.  Steve Pasternack and Sandra H. Utt, "A Study of America's
Front Pages:  A 10-Year Update," (paper presented to a meeting of the Visual
Communication Division of the Association for Education in      Journalism and Mass
Communication Annual Convention), Atlanta, GA, 1994.
                21.  Charles T. Salmon and John Spicer Nichols, "The
Next-Birthday Method of Respondent Selection,"  Public Opinion Quarterly, 47:
270-276.
                22.  Daniel Riffe, Charles F. Aust and Stephen R. Lacy, "The
Effectiveness of Random, Consecutive Day and Constructed Week Sampling in
Newspaper Content Analysis."  Journalism Quarterly, 70: 133-139 (Spring 1993).
 
               [1]      1  Henry Thomas Price, "The Effect of Newspaper Design
Complexity on Readership, Comprehension, Interestingness and Pleasingness,"
(Ph.D. diss., Michigan State University, 1972), abstract in Dissertation
Abstracts International 33 (1972): 9295A-6296A.
               [2]        Theresa G. Siskind, "The Effect of Newspaper Design on
Reader Preferences," Journalism Quarterly, 56: 54-61 (Spring 1979).
               [3]        J.W. Click and Guido H. Stemple III, "Reader Response to
Front Pages with Four-color Halftones," Journalism Quarterly, 53: 736-738
(Winter 1976).
               [4]        Robert H. Bohle and Mario R. Garcia, "Reader Response to
Color Halftones and Spot Color in Newspaper Design," Journalism Quarterly, 64:
731-739 (Winter 1987).
               [5]        Mario R. Garcia and Robert Bohle, "Poynter Research
Findings," in Color in American Newspapers (St.         Petersburg, FL: The Poynter
Institute For Media Studies, 1986), 32-42.
               [6]        Ron F. Smith, "Black and White, Unread All Over?  How
Design & Color Affect Reader Judgment of Newspapers,"  Newspaper Research
Journal, 10: 75-85 (Winter 1989).
               [7]        Wayne Wanta and Dandan Gao, "Young Readers and the
Newspaper:  Information Recall and Perceived Enjoyment, Readability and
Attractiveness," Journalism Quarterly, 71: 926-936 (Winter 1994).
               [8]        James W. Tankard, Jr., "Quantitatie Graphics in
Newspapers," Journalism Quarterly, 64: 406-415 (Summer/Autumn 1987).
               [9]        James D. Kelley, "The Data-Ink Ratio and Accuracy of
Newspaper Graphs," Journalism Quarterly, 66: 632-639 (Autumn 1989).
               [10]       Steve Pasternack and Sandra H. Utt, "Reader Use &
Understanding of Newspaper Infographics," Newspaper Research Journal, 11: 28-41
(Spring 1990).
               [11]       Rita Wolf and Gerald L. Grotta, "Images:  A Question of
Readership," Newspaper Research Journal, 6: 30-36 (Winter 1985).
               [12]       Wayne Wanta, "The Effects of Dominant Photographs:  An
Agenda-Setting Experiment," Journalism Quarterly, 65: 107-111 (Spring 1988).
               [13]       Hyun-Joo Lee Huh, "The Effect of Newspaper Picture Size,"
Visual Communication Quarterly," 1: 14-15 (Spring 1994).
               [14]       Maxwell E. McCombs, John B. Mauro and Jinok Son,
"Predicting Newspaper Readership from Content   Characteristics:  A Replication,"
Newspaper Research Journal, 10: 25-31 (Fall 1988).
               [15]       George A. Gladney, "Newspaper Excellence:  How Editors of
Small & Large Papers Judge Quality," Newspaper Research Journal, 11: 58-72
(Spring 1990).
               [16]       Robert Heller, "Nine Great Small Paper Designs," Visual
Communication Quarterly, 1: 4-7
               (Summer 1994).
               [17]       John K. Hartman, "USA Today and Young-Adult Readers:  Can
a New-Style Newspaper Win Them Back?" Newspaper Research Journal, 8: 1-15
(Winter 1987).
               [18]       Sandra H. Utt and Steve Pasternack, "Front Pages of U.S.
Daily Newspapers," Journalism Quarterly, 61: 879-884 (Winter 1984).
               [19]       Sandra H. Utt and Steve Pasternack, "How They Look:  An
Updated Study of American Newspaper Front Pages," Journalism Quarterly, 66:
621-627 (Autumn 1989).
               [20]       Steve Pasternack and Sandra H. Utt, "A Study of America's
Front Pages:  A 10-Year Update," (paper presented to a meeting of the Visual
Communication Division of the Association for Education in      Journalism and Mass
Communication Annual Convention), Atlanta, GA, 1994.
               [21]      Charles T. Salmon and John Spicer Nichols, "The
Next-Birthday Method of Respondent Selection,"  Public Opinion Quarterly, 47:
270-276.
               [22]      Daniel Riffe, Charles F. Aust and Stephen R. Lacy, "The
Effectiveness of Random, Consecutive Day and Constructed Week Sampling in
Newspaper Content Analysis."  Journalism Quarterly, 70: 133-139 (Spring 1993).
 

Back to: Top of Message | Previous Page | Main AEJMC Page

Permalink



LIST.MSU.EDU

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager