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Framing media mergers in France and the United States
Unformatted Document Text:  Framing media mergers in France and the United States 23 possible that American regulators and politicians as well, who support a laissez faire position tend not to voice their point of views on these subjects, thus limiting the journalistic “raw material” with which journalists and editors can work when covering such stories. The strong tendency of editors to funnel merger coverage to the business sections in both countries also suggests that the story was viewed a priori as a financial story. This decision also meant that the story itself would be covered by journalists who are schooled in viewing an event from a financial stand point. Finally, this decision could have had an effect on the exposure of readers to the topic. Although studies that explore whether readers tend to read newspapers and newsmagazines as a whole have not been found, industry data (Scarborough Research, 2001) suggests that over 40% of newspaper readers, and almost 50% of female readers in the top 50 markets in the U.S. do not read the business section. This means that stories that feature heavily or exclusively in the business section, even if they were to be framed without limiting their political scope would be missed by a large portion of the reading population. Finally, section location revealed surprising differences between the two countries. Against prior expectations, the AOLTW merger appeared more frequently on the first page or as a cover story in the American outlets sampled than the VU merger appeared in the French outlets sampled. This might be explained by the generally lower salience of micro-economic issues in the French society. According to some sources, the French as well as others in Europe lag behind the United States in terms of direct ownership of stock or investment in equities-based mutual funds (Tagliabue, 9.11.02, W1). Over the last four years the proportion of Americans who own stocks directly or through mutual

Authors: Davidson, Roei.
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Framing media mergers in France and the United States
23
possible that American regulators and politicians as well, who support a laissez faire
position tend not to voice their point of views on these subjects, thus limiting the
journalistic “raw material” with which journalists and editors can work when covering
such stories.
The strong tendency of editors to funnel merger coverage to the business sections in both
countries also suggests that the story was viewed a priori as a financial story. This
decision also meant that the story itself would be covered by journalists who are schooled
in viewing an event from a financial stand point. Finally, this decision could have had an
effect on the exposure of readers to the topic. Although studies that explore whether
readers tend to read newspapers and newsmagazines as a whole have not been found,
industry data (Scarborough Research, 2001) suggests that over 40% of newspaper
readers, and almost 50% of female readers in the top 50 markets in the U.S. do not read
the business section. This means that stories that feature heavily or exclusively in the
business section, even if they were to be framed without limiting their political scope
would be missed by a large portion of the reading population.
Finally, section location revealed surprising differences between the two countries.
Against prior expectations, the AOLTW merger appeared more frequently on the first
page or as a cover story in the American outlets sampled than the VU merger appeared in
the French outlets sampled. This might be explained by the generally lower salience of
micro-economic issues in the French society. According to some sources, the French as
well as others in Europe lag behind the United States in terms of direct ownership of
stock or investment in equities-based mutual funds (Tagliabue, 9.11.02, W1). Over the
last four years the proportion of Americans who own stocks directly or through mutual


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