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The Diffusion of an Online Community Newspaper Among College Students
Unformatted Document Text:  Diffusion Online News 6 and interest in the type of news covered by a community newspaper. A community is a large enough group to study but is also small enough to gain valuable insight (Jeffres, Cutietta, Sekerka, & Lee, 2000; Friedland & McLeod, 1999). A community can be a geographic location, structure(s), or process; a university can be examined as a community because it meets all three criteria (Collins, 2003). Rothenbuhler, Mullen, DeLaurell, and Ryul Ryu (1996) found a relationship between newspaper reading and community attachment. In their statistical model, the authors found that community attachment was dependent on age, number of children, activities, and newspaper reading. They also found that involvement was lower in more densely populated areas. This notion that community structure is a form of information control--and community control of information can influence knowledge and involvement-- is reinforced by the work by Olien, Donohue, and Tichenor (1978). Personal experience and community attachment increases reading of a local newspaper (Demers, 1996). Collins (2003) suggests that newspaper readership increases with connection to a community. Demers (1996) explained that having social ties creates a need for information, which can be solved through reading a community newspaper. According to Lowrey, Brozana, and Mackay (2008), “community journalism is intimate, caring, and personal; it reflects the community and tells it stories, and it embraces its leadership role” (p. 276). Research has shown that newspaper reading predicts community social capital (Jeffres, et al., 2007). Putnam (2007) defines social capital as “social networks and the associated norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness” (p.137). The media have been both commended and criticized for the effect they have on social capital. Jeffres et al. (2007) recount criticisms of television and its negative influence on social capital, while newspaper reading can increase social capital

Authors: Hunt, Daniel., Atkin, David. and Kowal, Chris.
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Diffusion Online News 6
and interest in the type of news covered by a community newspaper.  A community is a large 
enough group to study but is also small enough to gain valuable insight (Jeffres, Cutietta, 
Sekerka, & Lee, 2000; Friedland & McLeod, 1999). A community can be a geographic location, 
structure(s), or process; a university can be examined as a community because it meets all three 
criteria (Collins, 2003).
Rothenbuhler, Mullen, DeLaurell, and Ryul Ryu (1996) found a relationship between 
newspaper reading and community attachment.  In their statistical model, the authors found that 
community attachment was dependent on age, number of children, activities, and newspaper 
reading.  They also found that involvement was lower in more densely populated areas.   This 
notion that community structure is a form of information control--and community control of 
information can influence knowledge and involvement-- is reinforced by the work by Olien, 
Donohue, and Tichenor (1978).  Personal experience and community attachment increases 
reading of a local newspaper (Demers, 1996).  Collins (2003) suggests that newspaper readership 
increases with connection to a community.  Demers (1996) explained that having social ties 
creates a need for information, which can be solved through reading a community newspaper. 
According to Lowrey, Brozana, and Mackay (2008), “community journalism is intimate, caring, 
and personal; it reflects the community and tells it stories, and it embraces its leadership role” (p. 
276).  
Research has shown that newspaper reading predicts community social capital (Jeffres, et 
al., 2007).  Putnam (2007) defines social capital as “social networks and the associated norms of 
reciprocity and trustworthiness” (p.137).  The media have been both commended and criticized 
for the effect they have on social capital.  Jeffres et al.  (2007) recount criticisms of television 
and its negative influence on social capital, while newspaper reading can increase social capital 


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