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Retesting the Marketplace Theory of Media Use
Unformatted Document Text:  Retesting the Marketplace Theory of Media Use—3 African American, 1% Native American, 12% Asian American, and 8% Latino. Community B, which has Newspaper B, has 18% African American, 2% Native American, 6% Asian American, and 8% Latino. The difference between our focal urban center and that of Beaudoin and Thorson (2002) is also different because of the recent arrival of many of these ethnic minorities in our focal urban center. Because of the great recent and projected growth of ethnic groups in America, Beaudoin and Thorson (2002) contended that newspaper coverage and use should be studied with measures that are ethnic-specific. We follow this same approach. In the current study, thus, we have three main aims. First, we attempt to test the Marketplace Theory of Media Use. Second, we use the model as a means to predicting readership of two newspapers from a region of the United States with greatly different demographics than in the earlier study by Beaudoin and Thorson (2002). Third, we attempt to advance and make more rigorous the testing of the model. News as a commodity Integral to the Marketplace Theory of Media Use is the conceptualization of news as a commodity that can be purchased, traded and consumed (Beaudoin and Thorson, 2002). Ideas have long been viewed in the United States as such commodities. For example, via the First Amendment tradition, ideas and opinions are viewed as a sign of and means to public empowerment, cultural pluralism and democracy (Napoli, 1999). Furthermore, in Abrams v. United States (1919), Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, “The ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas” (p. 630). Marx (1971) characterized products in terms of their exchange value and modes of production. He wrote: “To become a commodity a product must be transferred to another whom it will serve as a use-value, by means of an exchange” (p. 48). The Marketplace Theory of Media Use holds that news is a commodity of this sort (Beaudoin & Thorson, 2002). It comes in different forms, from different news outlets and from different media. At its base are the concepts of production and exchange. The nightly news is produced by a network such as NBC and sold to viewers via advertising. Newspapers such as the

Authors: Beaudoin, Christopher. and Thorson, Esther.
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Retesting the Marketplace Theory of Media Use—3
African American, 1% Native American, 12% Asian American, and 8% Latino. Community B,
which has Newspaper B, has 18% African American, 2% Native American, 6% Asian American,
and 8% Latino. The difference between our focal urban center and that of Beaudoin and Thorson
(2002) is also different because of the recent arrival of many of these ethnic minorities in our
focal urban center. Because of the great recent and projected growth of ethnic groups in America,
Beaudoin and Thorson (2002) contended that newspaper coverage and use should be studied with
measures that are ethnic-specific. We follow this same approach.
In the current study, thus, we have three main aims. First, we attempt to test the
Marketplace Theory of Media Use. Second, we use the model as a means to predicting readership
of two newspapers from a region of the United States with greatly different demographics than in
the earlier study by Beaudoin and Thorson (2002). Third, we attempt to advance and make more
rigorous the testing of the model.
News as a commodity
Integral to the Marketplace Theory of Media Use is the conceptualization of news as a
commodity that can be purchased, traded and consumed (Beaudoin and Thorson, 2002). Ideas
have long been viewed in the United States as such commodities. For example, via the First
Amendment tradition, ideas and opinions are viewed as a sign of and means to public
empowerment, cultural pluralism and democracy (Napoli, 1999). Furthermore, in Abrams v.
United States (1919), Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, “The ultimate good desired is better reached
by free trade in ideas” (p. 630). Marx (1971) characterized products in terms of their exchange
value and modes of production. He wrote: “To become a commodity a product must be
transferred to another whom it will serve as a use-value, by means of an exchange” (p. 48).
The Marketplace Theory of Media Use holds that news is a commodity of this sort
(Beaudoin & Thorson, 2002). It comes in different forms, from different news outlets and from
different media. At its base are the concepts of production and exchange. The nightly news is
produced by a network such as NBC and sold to viewers via advertising. Newspapers such as the


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