Asian Web Newspapers
'INTERACTIVE' ONLINE JOURNALISM
AT ENGLISH-LANGUAGE WEB NEWSPAPERS IN ASIA:
A DEPENDENCY-THEORY ANALYSIS
BRIAN L. MASSEY
Assistant Professor, School of Communication Studies
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
MARK R. LEVY
Professor and chairperson, Department of Telecommunications
Michigan State University, Michigan, USA
Submitted to the International Communication Division,
for presentation to the annual meeting of the Association for Education in
Journalism and Mass Communication, New Orleans, LA, August 1999
Correspondence should addressed to:
Dr. Brian L. Massey
School of Communication Studies
Nanyang Technological University,
31 Nanyang Link, SCS Building
(65) 790-5772 > office; (65) 792-7526 > fax
[log in to unmask] > e-mail
Asian Web Newspapers
Three different measures of socio-economic development were used in an attempt
to account for differences in the degree of interactivity associated with
English-language Web newspapers in Asia. A five-dimension conceptualization of
interactivity was used, and two hypotheses based on the Dependency Theory of
national economic development were tested. A content analysis of 44 Asian Web
newspapers showed that interactivity neither decreased regionally, from Asia's
developed center through to its economically peripheral nations, nor
Internet use appears set to grow rapidly in Asia and that could bode well for
the region's online newspapers. For example, one estimate has about 30.0% of all
households in the developed economies of Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and
Singapore being wired to the Net by 2002 (Asia/Pacific Internet services, 4
February 1997). In that same year, the number of regular Net users from Asia and
the Pacific islands is predicted to reach 44.7 million (Net users forecast at
45m in Asia-Pac, Nov.-Dec. 1998). And most of those new additions to the
region's online community are expected to be from Mainland China and South Korea
(China to take Internet lead in Asia, 26 October 1998), or Malaysia, Singapore,
Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia (Malaysia to lead Internet growth in
Asia, 29 October 1997).
There now are 25.6 million people using the Net from the Asia-Pacific region,
according to the latest estimate by NUA Internet Surveys (How many online?
December 1998a). By that count, the region's Netizen population grew by 48.0%
over NUA's estimate for May 1998, and accounts for 17.0% of the world's
estimated 151 million Net users.
This perhaps is what Singapore journalist Paul Jansen meant when he wrote that
the Net 'has become a tsunami' for Asia (New look for Straits Times Interactive,
12 May 1998). Demand, he reported without giving specifics, has grown
dramatically for the online editions of many Asian newspapers. A recent survey
of AltaVista Asiawide search-engine users may bear him out: nearly three in four
respondents said they get their news from the World Wide Web, although their
exact online destinations were not reported (1st International AltaVista
Asiawide User Survey, 1997).
The vagaries of these two reports aside, it seems probable that there is a
large and growing audience in Asia for online journalism. Yet online journalism,
particularly its practice in Asia, generally has yet to fully attract the
attention of researchers. Most of the work on the phenomenon to date has
explored its development at U.S. Web newspapers.
The current work, therefore, focuses on Web news-making as it is practiced in
Asia. Specifically, it seeks to explore the phenomenon of "interactive" online
journalism through the lens of Dependency Theory, which essentially argues that
a nation's socio-economic development depends on its position within a global
capitalist system. This effort was guided by the following question: "Can
Dependency Theory help explain variations in the level of interactivity observed
for online newspapers between and within sub-regions of Asia?"
Economic Development and Interactive Online Journalism
Interactivity "is supposed to be the most distinctive contribution of online
journalism" (Tucher, 1997 [On-line]) to news consumers and the business of
disseminating the daily news. Yet it likely requires a fairly sizeable staff to
build a discernibly high degree of interactivity into a Web newspaper. Even the
seemingly simple task of preparing traditional news-media content for uploading
to a Web newspaper can be "tedious and time consuming, taking up many hours of
employees' days" (Martin, 1998, p. 72). "Interactive" online journalism,
therefore, is a labor-intensive endeavor. Add the cost of the required technical
resources and it becomes a capital-intensive affair as well.
In general, capital flows into a commercial newspaper in large part through the
sale of advertising space on the printed or virtual page. This revenue stream,
in turn, is influenced by the size of the newspaper's audience. "The larger the
audience," as McManus suggests, "the greater its wealth, the greater the
proportion of audience members in the highest consuming age bracket ... the more
valuable the [newspapers'] advertising space is to retailers and the higher the
fees ... newspapers may charge" for it (1995, p. 314). Hence, a Web newspaper
may be only as interactive as the level of its funding will allow. Support for
this notion is found in the work of McMillan (1998), who observed an
interactivity-funding link at health-related Web sites.
Advertising revenue arguably is linked to the viability of a society's economy,
or to its state of economic development. There must be a sufficient number of
sufficiently wealthy consumers to make it worthwhile for retailers to purchase
advertising space to promote their products to them. If some threshold of
consumerism does not exist, then it seems unlikely that retailers would purchase
any great quantity of advertising space; moreover, absent this threshold,
sufficient numbers of retailers may not exist to enrich a newspaper with revenue
from the sale of advertising space. It is at this juncture that "interactive"
online journalism and Dependency Theory may intersect.
Raul Prebisch, chair of the post-World War II United Nations Economic
Commission on Latin America, is generally credited with giving Dependency Theory
its start (Chilcote, 1984; Larrain, 1989; Wallace, 1990). The crux of his
argument is that unequal exchanges between "center" and "periphery" nations
serve to keep peripheral states under-developed. Bauzon and Abel (1986) give the
example of the industrialized center extracting profit, or "surplus," from the
un-industrialized periphery by taking out raw materials and sending back
finished consumer products.
Notable refinements to the center-periphery concept have come from Frank (1966,
1967), Cardoso and Faletto (1979), and Galtung (1971). Wallerstein contributed
the notion of "semi-periphery" nations in his conceptualization of a world
capitalist system (1976). The semi-periphery is the buffer between the top and
bottom of the global economic ladder and a country could rise or fall to
semi-periphery status (Barnett, Jacobson, Choi & Sun-Miller, 1996).
Semi-peripheral nations also potentially can wrest from the center additional
levels of influence over markets at the periphery (Wallerstein, 1979).
One method of arraying countries from center to periphery is by Gross Domestic
Product. For Asia, Gunaratne (in press) uses global economic competitiveness to
suggest regional and sub-regional Dependency Theory divisions. And communication
- specifically, the number of outbound international telephone calls - has been
found to be predictive of a nation's level of economic development, quality of
life and political participation (Barnett et. al, 1996).
The theory admittedly has engendered many criticisms (see Weiner & Huntington,
1987), although a thorough discussion of them is beyond the scope of the current
work. Whatever the theory's shortcomings, however, its conception of global
economic centres and peripheries "can, in certain instances, be helpful
analytical constructs" (Dietz & James, 1990, p. 45). It is in that vein that
Dependency Theory could be applied to interactive online journalism.
Bringing Interactivity to Online Journalism
Online journalism, albeit in the most basic sense, means taking a news article
prepared for a traditional, paper-and-ink news product and "re-purposing" it to
a companion Web site (Pavlik, 1997). Yet the Net - the system through which
consumers access news articles published to the Web - brings to the table the
potential for more technologically sophisticated forms of journalism. Inherent
in the technical architecture of the Net is the capacity for interactivity
(Newhagen & Levy, 1998).
News-industry commentators and researchers tend to generally disagree on
the ideal look of interactive online journalism, however. The common practice of
outfitting a Web-published news article with hypertext links is criticized as a
rather pedestrian form of online journalism (Noth, 1996; Pogash, 1996; Lasica,
1997) - and defended as valid but unfairly maligned device of interactivity
(Lux, 1996). Ideal online journalism also has been described as the act of
accompanying Web news texts with digital audio or video (Lasica, 1996a & 1996b;
Woefel, in Dent, 1998), and offering readers searchable news-story archives,
direct access to news wires and news customization features (Lasica, 1996b;
What these disparate views do share is the notion that online journalism has
the potential to empower its audiences. In other words, content producers can
harness the technological capabilities of the Net to give content consumers
hitherto unavailable means for controlling their interactions with the day's
news (Dennis, 1996; Khoo & Gopal, 1996).
Morris and Ogan's work (1996), on the other hand, suggests that online
journalism can be called "interactive" when it is put to work facilitating
asynchronous and synchronous interpersonal communication between content
consumers and producers, and among consumers. E-mail links to online
journalists, electronic bulletin boards and chat rooms could be examples of
interpersonally interactive Web news-making.
Recent studies arguably do little to unify these competing conceptualizations
of interactive online journalism. The tendency has been to broadly categorize as
"interactive" any number of content-control and interpersonal-interaction
features (see Gubman & Greer, 1997; Tremayne, 1997; Tankard & Ban, 1998; Riley,
Keough, Christiansen, Meilich & Pierson, 1998). However, a more uniform - and
perhaps more usefully analytical - approach may be found in Heeter's effort
(1989) to coalesce the varied definitions of interactivity that have been
applied to new communication technologies in general.
Interactivity, Heeter argues, can occur along six dimensions and among them,
four appear to closely fit the literature on online journalism. A new dimension
is suggested for immediacy of information, a journalistic concept not
accommodated by Heeter's broad package of measures. Those five dimensions of
interactivity are explicated for online journalism as follows:
Complexity of Choice Available. Choice-complexity is defined as the range of
content topics that Web journalists make available to readers. In other words,
an online newspaper's level of interactivity can be measured by the diversity of
content published to it. Replicating the full range of content topics found in a
traditional, printed-page news product, plus converging that with the multimedia
features of traditional broadcast media, could be examples of a highly
interactive Web news site. This, therefore, would empower the site's users with
many choices for exercising control over information.
Responsiveness to the User. To paraphrase Heeter, this refers to "the degree to
which [online journalists] can react responsively" (1989, p. 223) to messages
from readers. The dimension can be further defined as "potential for
responsiveness," as in the provision of e-mail links to the newsroom, and
"actual responsiveness," or whether journalists actually respond to reader
Ease of Adding Information to the System. Interactive online journalism, under
this dimension, is defined as the technological empowerment of Web newspaper
readers for asynchronous, one-to-many communication.
Facilitation of Interpersonal Communication. This refers to a Web newspaper's
potential for offering itself as a digital conduit through which a reader can
carry on a synchronous, one-to-one interaction with another reader.
Immediacy of Content. This may be the one characteristic of online journalism
that most clearly distinguishes it from traditional journalism. However, the
Net's potential for immediacy possibly was not fully recognized until February
1997, when a U.S. daily newspaper, the Dallas (Texas) Morning News, turned to
its Web site to break a major story about Oklahoma City, Oklahoma,
federal-building bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh (Reider, 1997; Hanson, 1997).
Immediacy thus is another dimension of online journalism's potential
interactivity, and it can be defined as the extent to which a Web newspaper
offers its readers the most immediately available information.
However, there is a drawback to measuring the interactivity of an online
journalism endeavor through the five dimensions. Although it can produce data on
the scope of interactivity at a Web news site, it offers little in the way of an
explanation for observed differences between sites. One possible way of
overcoming this may be to analyze dimensional scores through a proxy for the
resources required for making online journalism interactive. Dependency Theory
may offer that substitute variable.
At this point two hypotheses about the interactivity of Asia's Web
newspapers can be suggested. First, the extent to which online journalism is
interactive will decrease from Asia's economic center to its semi-periphery, and
from the semi-periphery to the regional periphery. Second, the sub-regional
center-periphery divisions also will exhibit this descending-order pattern.
The hypotheses were framed by the assumption that Dependency Theory, through
its center-periphery classification scheme, approximates the extent to which a
country's economy is capable of sustaining a level of consumption that makes it
profitable for retailers to buy newspaper advertising space. Revenue from
advertising-space sales, in turn, makes available the funding that is needed to
make a Web newspaper interactive. The higher a country's Dependency Theory
ranking, the more interactivity that Web newspapers published from there can
afford. Conversely, the smaller and less developed the national economy - the
lower its position in the world capitalist system - the less interactive its Web
newspapers will be.
Daily, general circulation English-language Asian newspapers that publish
companion Web editions were identified from the major Net search engines and
data bases of online newspapers, such the listing at American Journalism Review
(http://ajr.newslink.org/nonusa.html). Keywords used in the search-engine
sessions included "Asia and news," "Asia and newspaper," and the country names
from Asian Communication Handbook (1998) profiles. This produced 50 Net
"addresses," although six were later found to reach either non-working sites or
ones that publish only news summaries in English. The final data set included 44
Web newspapers from 14 Asian countries plus Hong Kong.
English-language newspapers were selected for two reasons. First, English
is a commonly found lingua franca in Asia, and is typically used among a
nation's educated class and expatriate community. Additionally, Asian newspapers
that publish in this shared language often are among a nation's most influential
The unit of analysis was the entire newspaper Web site, beginning at the
"front page." At about half of the 44 sites, the "front page" was accessible
only through a "home page," and Li's operationalisations (1998) were used to
distinguish the two. The "home page" is a newspaper's initial, or opening,
screen on the Web. It generally contains only hypertext links for accessing
information published within a newspaper's site or on an external, or off-site,
locale on the Web. The "front page," on the other hand, can be accessed through
the home page or itself can serve as the newspaper's initial Web screen, and it
can be recognized by its similarity in appearance to a print newspaper front
Each site was coded for the presence or absence of various types of content
and features that tap into the technology of the Net. "Complexity of Choice
Available" was conceptualized as news, entertainment, multimedia, commercial,
and background/news customization features. "Responsiveness to the User" was
operationalised as the provision of e-mail links to journalists and "actual
responsiveness." To gauge the latter, a standardized e-mail message was sent to
the newspapers by the study's coders, requesting minimal data about how their
sites functioned. The message was sent through a general-delivery "feedback"
link or, if listed, to the newspaper's webmaster or chief online editor. If the
newspaper responded, a score of 1 was awarded.
Online letters to the editor, electronic bulletin boards and reader polls
on news topics of the day were coded as examples of the "Ease of Adding
Information" dimension. "Facilitation of Interpersonal Communication" was
conceptualized as moderated and un-moderated chat rooms. By "Immediacy of
Content," we meant the presence on a Web site of a publication date or an
Scores were calculated by dividing the number of items present on a
newspaper Web site for a particular dimension by the total number of items
comprising that dimension. A perfect score was 1.0. By way of illustration, an
online newspaper received a rounded score of 0.70 for "Ease of Adding
Information" if two of that dimension's three variables were observed at its Web
Individual newspaper scores on the five interactivity dimensions were
collapsed to create center, semi-periphery and periphery indices. The indices
mirror the regional and sub-regional Dependency Theory categorization scheme
that Gunaratne (in press) suggests for Asia, based on national indicators of
global competitiveness. Figure 1 reports the Web newspapers that make up the
Dependency Theory divisions.
Gunaratne determined global competitiveness on the basis of each Asian
nation's percentage share of the region's slice of total world
goods-and-services exports for 1996. His center-periphery classification scheme
holds up when compared to 1997 world export data - the most recent available
from the World Trade Organization (www.wto.org/wto/statis/).
The non-parametric Spearman's rank-order correlation (rho, or rs) was
selected as the test statistic, as the Dependency Theory categories were given
ordinal-scale values that descended in whole numbers, beginning at "3" for the
center. Furthermore, the prediction is for monotonic relationships -
specifically, interactivity always decreases from center through periphery -
that the correlation is well-suited to detecting (Vogt, 1993, p. 215-16).
Spearman's also is robust against normality-assumption violations, and a
pre-analysis check on the interactivity data suggested often widely non-normal
distributions, particularly for the sub-regional center-periphery divisions.
This may be due to the small sample sizes.
A faculty member and 11 master's degree students at a major Asian
university coded the Web sites, which were accessed twice - an initial visit and
then a second time 24 hours later - between 23 March and 10 April 1998. Again,
we turned to Li's work for support. Li found that Web sites of three U.S.
national newspapers tended to be stable in appearance over time, and from that
makes the argument that small sample sizes, or numbers of visits, can yield
reliable data (1998, p. 357).
Some 11% of the 44 Asian newspaper Web sites were visited independently by
two coders during one coding session to gauge reliability. For each of the 37
variables requiring coder judgement, intercoder agreement ranged from .80, a
widely accepted threshold (Krippendorff, 1980; Lacy & Riffe, 1996), to perfect
agreement, using Holsti's formula (1969).
The first hypothesis predicted a descending order of interactivity for Asia's
English-language online newspapers, from the region's center through to its
periphery. However, this expectation is not supported by the data.
The predicted pattern appeared to hold up for the "Immediacy of Content" and
"Responsiveness to the User" dimensions of interactivity, as Table 1 reports,
but neither relationship was statistically noteworthy. The only significant
order of interactivity occurred for the "Ease of Adding Information" dimension
(rs = -.377; p< .006, 1-tail), yet it was an ascending relationship, contrary to
expectations. Interactivity for the remaining two dimensions ran in both
directions, converging on the region's economic semi-periphery.
Similarly discouraging were the findings for the sub-region Dependency Theory
divisions. The data overall leave the second hypothesis - that interactivity in
online journalism will decline from center to periphery within Asia's three
sub-regions - without convincing support.
Online journalism's level of interactivity among the 10 Web newspapers of the
sub-region East Asia moved against the hypothesized direction on all five
dimensions, as Table 2 shows. But it was statistically insignificant that
interactivity appeared to be greater at East Asia's semi-periphery rather than
at its center. For the 19 Web newspapers from the Southeast Asia sub-region,
interactive online journalism diminished, as expected, only along the
"Complexity" and "Responsiveness" dimensions. Web newspapers from the
sub-region's economic center and semi-periphery matched mean "Immediacy" scores,
while the lone "Interpersonal" score came from the semi-periphery. The only
predicted pattern of significance was observed for South Asia's 15 Web
newspapers on the dimension "Complexity" (rs = .466; p< .04, 1-tail).
Interactivity ascended from the sub-region's periphery to center for the
dimensions "Responsiveness," "Ease of Adding Information" and "Interpersonal,"
and the two South Asia zones were essentially equal on the "Immediacy"
A second test of the data for interactive online journalism was made to check
the fruitfulness of using global competitiveness as a proxy for a country's
position in the world capitalist system. Although Gunaratne prefers using
competitiveness indicators, he also suggests that a less satisfactory set of
Dependency Theory divisions can be fashioned on the basis of the World Bank's
rankings of Asia's national economies. In this scheme, "high-income" economies
serve as Asia's center; for the current work, these are Brunei, Japan, Hong
Kong, Singapore and South Korea. The semi-periphery would comprise Indonesia,
Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. All other Asian nations, ranked as
"low-income" economies, become the region's periphery (e.g., Bangladesh, China,
India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka).
The findings, however, were no more encouraging. "Responsiveness," as Table 3
reports, was the lone dimension to display the predicted pattern of
descending-order interactivity. Each of the World Bank rank-interactivity
relationships lacked statistical importance.
A further attempt to distinguish center from periphery in Asia is reported in
Table 4. For this effort, Dependency Theory categories were assigned on the
basis of the percentage of a country's population that makes frequent use of the
Net. The percentages were calculated from country-specific, Net-user estimates
reported by NUA Internet Surveys for December 1998 (How many online? Asia,
1998b) and 1998 population figures found at the Web site of the United Nations
Population Information Network.
Nolan (online) suggests that when a country has 10.0% of its population
regularly using the Net, it is "approaching critical mass, especially if there
is a large enough population base or other reasons, for a product or service to
prosper." Asia's Net-user center, according to Nolan's benchmark, comprises
Singapore (14.7%) and Hong Kong (13.4%). The semi-periphery was defined as
nations where Net users accounted for less than 10.0% but more than 1.0% of the
general population, and this captured Japan at 6.4%, South Korea (3.9%) and
Malaysia (3.0%). A nation was peripheral if its population counted less than
1.0% as users of the Net, and Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and
Thailand fell into this category. Brunei, Nepal and Pakistan were excluded
because no Net-user figures were located for them.
The findings suggest that the interactivity of online journalism and a
country's percentage of Net users are unrelated. "Responsiveness" dimensional
scores descended as expected, but all of the remaining dimensions displayed
mixed interactivity-order patterns. Statistical significance was absent from
Discussion and Conclusions
Dependency Theory classifications, at least those cut from global
competitiveness indicators and World Bank rankings, offer little help in
explaining variations in the interactivity of English-language Web newspapers
between and within sub-regions of Asia. With the classifications as a proxy for
economic development - hence advertising-sales revenue - the
funding-interactivity link that McMillan discovered for health-related Web sites
did not materialize in any convincing form for the online Asian newspapers.
One possible reason is that a global competitiveness indicator based on
percentage share of regional goods-and-services exports may not precisely
approximate a country's position in the world capitalist system. Future
applications of Dependency Theory to online journalism should consider other
economic center-periphery approximations, such as GDP, level of consumer
spending or per capita income. It could be that an Asian Web newspaper's level
of interactivity is apparently unrelated to its home country's level of
capitalist development. More fruitful predictors of 'interactive' online
journalism in the region may be found in such cultural-political measures as
freedom of the press, speech, or assembly. At the organizational level, the size
and technical skill level of a Web newspaper's staff, or a measure of the
willingness of the newspaper's corporate owner to develop the online news site,
also might make better predictors.
The percentage of Net users in a country's population also fared poorly as
a predictor of interactive online journalism. One explanation may be that this
scheme's center-periphery country assignments largely mirrored those made by
competitiveness indicators, which lacked predictive value themselves. Indeed, a
strong and significant relationship (rs = .632; p< .0001, 1-tail) was observed
between the two Dependency Theory ranking schemes.
Finally, it is clear from our analysis that - for the moment at least - the
practice of online journalism among Asia's English-language Web newspapers
exhibits wide variations in interactivity between those within each of the
Dependency Theory categories. This pattern, observed over the three
center-periphery classification schemes investigated, suggests a less than
straightforward portrait of the Web newspapers' interactivity. Perhaps online
journalism's level of interactivity represents a process unique to individual
Web newspapers, rather than a phenomenon of uniform scope at a macro-level of
analysis. Mody (1987) suggests as much, arguing that factors such as economics,
culture, politics and history, and actors such as nation-states, corporations
and social movements, can have an impact on the emergence of a new technology.
And the impact likely varies by time and place. Thus, the level of interactivity
of a Web newspaper could depend more on the specific circumstances of the
innovation's emergence than on how its home country is ranked on a Dependency
Theory classification scheme.
It will, of course, require future monitoring to determine whether the
pattern of interactive online journalism detected by this benchmark study will
persist, or whether economic factors ultimately will emerge as the principal
explanatory variable. This, in turn, allows for additional study of and
refinement to Dependency Theory.
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Asian Web Newspapers
Asian Web Newspapers
Figure 1: Dependency Theory Divisions
y Japan: Asahi Shimbun, Japan Times, Yomiuri Shimbun
y China: China Daily
y Hong Kong: Hong Kong Standard, South China Morning Post
y South Korea: Chosun Ilbo, Joong Ang Daily News, Korean Herald,
y Singapore: New Paper, New Straits Times
y Indonesia: Indonesian Observer
y Malaysia: Borneo Mail, New Straits Times, Sabah Daily Express,
Sarawak Tribune, Star, Sun
y Philippines: Freeman, Independent Post, Manila Bulletin, Manila
Times, Philippines Daily Inquirer, Philippines Star, Visayan Daily
y Thailand: Bangkok Post, Nation
y Brunei: Borneo Bulletin
y India: Deccan Chronicle, Deccan Herald, Hindu, Hindustan Times,
Indian Express, Pioneer, Times of India
y Bangladesh: Daily Star, Independent
y Nepal: Kathmandu Post
y Pakistan: Dawn, Frontier Post, Nation, News International
y Sri Lanka: Daily News
Asian Web Newspapers
Table 1. Interactive Online Journalism in Asia
Mean Scores on Interactivity Dimensions
Ease of Adding Information
Centre: East Asia
Semi-Periphery: SE Asia
Periphery: South Asia
* p< .006, 1-tail
Asian Web Newspapers
Table 2. Sub-regional Asia and Interactive Online Journalism
Interactivity Dimension Means
Ease of Adding Info
* p < .04, 1-tail
Asian Web Newspapers
Table 3. Asian Dependency Theory Divisions Using World Bank Economy Rankings
Mean Scores on Interactivity Dimensions
Ease of Adding Info
Center: East Asia
Semi-Periphery: SE Asia
Periphery: South Asia
Asian Web Newspapers
Table 4. Percentage of Internet Users in Population as Dependency Theory Proxy
Mean Scores on Interactivity Dimensions
Ease of Adding Info
Center: East Asia
Semi-Periphery: SE Asia
Periphery: South Asia
 "News" was conceptualized as international, regional, national and local
news articles, business and sports news, and weather forecasts. "Regional" was
defined as news about neighboring nations; "local" as articles about a
newspaper's home-base city. Included as "entertainment": movie, book and
restaurant/food reviews; crossword puzzles; comic strips; contests; and an
events calendar, or a compendium of upcoming activities in the community.
"Multimedia" was defined as digitized audio and video of news or entertainment
events. By "background/news customization" we meant in-story hypertext links to
topically related same-day stories, related archived stories and external Web
sites; and searchable archives and news customization features. "Commercial" was
coded as the presence or absence of revenue-generating product/service
advertisements, and classified and "help wanted" ads.
 These included a "feedback" link, or the newsroom's "general delivery"
e-mail address, and e-mail links to specific journalists by job title. The job
titles were "chief newspaper editor," or the executive in charge of the entire
newsroom; "chief online editor," or the Web edition's journalist-manager; and
"online section editors," "online reporters," and "webmaster."