Identifier

etd-11122008-171510

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Mass Communication

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

This dissertation explores the ownership of online news content within the broader context of diversity of news sources in the public sphere. The free flow of diverse sources of news and information is critical to democratic governance and public discourse. Research has highlighted the central role the Internet can play in facilitating this discourse and thus contributing to the political process. This research explores the diversity of news online by examining the ownership of news sources online. The project uses a qualitative case study approach and basic quantitative methods to conduct analyses of the homepages of News Corporation’s www.FOXNews.com and Yahoo! Inc.’s www.news.yahoo.com. Four key elements are addressed: (1) the commercial imperatives of News Corporation and Yahoo! Inc., as these imperatives relate to the ownership and production of online news content online, (2) the ultimate owners of sources of news content cited on www.FOXNews.com and www.news.yahoo.com, (3) the corporate relationships between News Corporation and the ultimate owners of news content on www.FOXNews.com and between Yahoo! Inc. and the ultimate owners of news content on www.news.yahoo.com, and (4) the types of news content on these Web sites and the organization of the news content on the homepages. Findings indicate that the overall corporate commercial imperatives of News Corporation and Yahoo! Inc. guide the production, aggregation, and distribution of news content on the homepages of www.FOXNews.com and www.news.yahoo.com. International news agencies and a small group of media corporations are dominant as ultimate owners of news content on the homepages of www.FOXNews.com and www.news.yahoo.com. In addition, both News Corporation and Yahoo! Inc., have extensive corporation content sharing relationships with major media companies already dominant in traditional media. The results indicate that media conglomerates already dominant in the production, aggregation, and distribution of traditional media are also dominant online. The ostensibly many brands of news content are, in fact, owned by few ultimate owners. Such ownership gives media corporations enormous power and the potential to influence public discourse on important matters of governance and political life.

Date

2008

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Anne C. Osborne

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