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Framework for audience fragmentation as a global phenomenon using India as a case study

Patricia Cruz

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The study “Rethinking Audience Fragmentation Using a Theory of News Reading Publics: Online India as a Case Study” by Subhayan Mukerjee from National University of Singapore used the case of online India to build a more inclusive theoretical framework for audience fragmentation studies that is not so Western-centric but extends to the Global South.

Audience behavior has been studied through the dual lenses of audience fragmentation and audience duplication. Audience fragmentation refers to the idea that people increasingly use media they only share with a group of like-minded audience members. 

Audience duplication, on the other hand, refers to the fact that while the audience for an outlet may seem small and circumscribed, many people use numerous different media and the audience of a single media consists of people of many persuasions.

This study aimed to fill the gap in there by building on the existing research on audience fragmentation by including India, the largest democracy in the World, on the discussion. India is not only an interesting case in itself but also relevant to the whole Global South. The study is the first to offer large-scale quantitative evidence on news consumption in the Global South. 

News consumption research has been linked to studies on audience fragmentation, as the increasing options for news sources have led to selection that has been fragmented in nature. The presumptive pattern is that there used to be an unified, shared media and the turn has been gradual toward fragmentation. This notion, however, is not applicable to developing countries. 

India, in particular, historically has had 20 official languages, low literacy rate leading to low newspaper readership, and lack of television in many households, so clearly the country has not had a shared media experience only later to be fragmented. 

Rather, the media market has been fragmented from the beginning. Thus, existing theories that rely on the gradual fragmentation framework are unable to explain India or developing countries.

Theoretically, this study relied on four strands of research. First, the Uses and Gratifications theory (UGT), which focuses on what people do with media. Second, Social Identity theory, which posits that the social category people fall to and feel they belong to defines who one is. Third, issue publics, used to study how people organize. Lastly, Cultural Proximity theory, which claims that people prefer culturally close news, such as indigenous news over Western news. 

Empirically, the study utilized a dataset from ComScore that tracked the desktop browsing behavior of over 50,000 users over a period of 45 months. The author built co-exposure or  audience overlap networks for every month and combined them into a single network. 

The analysis revealed that fragmentation was more prominent in the three southern states, where three South Indian languages had their own communities within the network. The communities were more distinct there. Likely due to the dominance of Hindi in the northern states, the fragmentation was lower there. The Keralite news reading public was also interestingly fractured in two.

The author suggests that conceptualizing news consumption through the lens of news reading publics is an inductive approach and not dependent on the context on which is applied, so that it can be used to study news consumption elsewhere in the world and the Global South. It can be presumed that similar fragmentation results occur in other multilingual countries. 

In countries where the public is divided on other lines than the language, more granular data is needed to identify the news reading publics. The audience might be divided along demographic lines or along ideological lines. 

The author notes that the dataset did not include mobile browsing data with cell phones, which is a limitation. The second limitation is that it is not certain whether the results are generalizable to offline formats like print and broadcast. Nevertheless, the results and the framework proposed are important contributions to the field.

The study  “Rethinking Audience Fragmentation Using a Theory of News Reading Publics: Online India as a Case Study” by Subhayan Mukerjee is in The International Journal of Press/Politics. (free abstract).

Picture: Untitled by no name @abhijith__s_nair

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Journalism

The Top Journalism Websites for News and Analysis”

Alice Trout

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Journalism plays an essential role in keeping the public informed about current events and issues. The internet has made it easier than ever to access a wide range of news and analysis from reputable sources. Here are some of the best journalism sites for keeping up-to-date on the latest happenings around the world:

  1. The New York Times (www.nytimes.com) – The New York Times is a well-respected newspaper that has been in operation for over 150 years. It offers a wide range of news and analysis on politics, business, technology, and culture.
  2. The Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com) – The Washington Post is another well-respected newspaper that has been in operation for over 150 years. It offers in-depth coverage of national and international news, as well as commentary on politics, business, and more.
  3. The Guardian (www.theguardian.com) – The Guardian is a British newspaper that offers a wide range of news and analysis on politics, business, technology, and culture. It has a strong reputation for investigative journalism and has won numerous awards.
  4. BBC News (www.bbc.com/news) – BBC News is the online news division of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). It offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events.
  5. Al Jazeera (www.aljazeera.com) – Al Jazeera is a Qatari news organization that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of the Middle East and North Africa.
  6. Reuters (www.reuters.com) – Reuters is a global news organization that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of business and financial news.
  7. CNN (www.cnn.com) – CNN is a global news organization that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of breaking news and live events.
  8. The Economist (www.economist.com) – The Economist is a British magazine that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events, with a focus on economics and politics.
  9. The Atlantic (www.theatlantic.com) – The Atlantic is an American magazine that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events, with a focus on politics, culture, and technology.
  10. ProPublica (www.propublica.org) – ProPublica is a non-profit organization that focuses on investigative journalism. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of politics, business, and social issues.

Guest blogging is a highly effective marketing strategy that every business should be utilizing. By purchasing PR publications, you can increase traffic and establish authority.

These are just a few examples of the many great journalism websites that are available. Whether you’re looking for breaking news, in-depth analysis, or a particular perspective on current events, these sites are an excellent starting point.

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Journalism

The Ethics of Healthcare Advertising: Balancing the Right to Information with the Risk of Deception

Alice Trout

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Healthcare advertising has the potential to inform and educate the public about important medical treatments and products, but it must be done in an ethical and responsible manner. On one hand, the public has the right to access information about healthcare options that may improve their quality of life or save their lives. On the other hand, there is a risk that healthcare advertising could deceive or mislead consumers, leading to negative consequences for both the companies and the public.

One issue with healthcare advertising is the promotion of prescription drugs for off-label use. Off-label use refers to the use of a drug for a purpose that has not been approved by the regulatory agency, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. While it is not illegal for doctors to prescribe drugs for off-label use, it is illegal for pharmaceutical companies to promote drugs for off-label use. This is because the FDA has not determined that the drug is safe and effective for the unapproved use.

Unfortunately, some pharmaceutical companies have been known to engage in off-label promotion in order to increase sales. This can be harmful to patients, as they may be prescribed a drug that has not been thoroughly tested for the specific condition they are suffering from. In some cases, off-label use of a drug can even be dangerous.

Another issue with healthcare advertising is the use of exaggerated or misleading claims. This can include making false or unproven statements about the effectiveness of a drug or treatment, or downplaying the risks and side effects. Such practices can lead to consumers making informed decisions about their healthcare, and can also harm the reputation of the healthcare industry as a whole.

In order to strike a balance between the right to information and the risk of deception, it is important for both regulatory agencies and the healthcare industry to prioritize ethical practices in healthcare advertising. This can include measures such as strict oversight by regulatory agencies, clear guidelines for the approval and review of advertising materials, and campaigns to educate the public about how to evaluate and interpret healthcare advertising. By taking these steps, we can ensure that the public has access to accurate and reliable information about healthcare options, while also protecting against deceptive practices that can harm both consumers and the healthcare industry.

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Journalism

Supporting Startup Founders’ Mental Health: The Importance of Prioritizing Well-Being in the Fast-Paced Startup World

Alice Trout

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As the startup world continues to thrive and grow, it’s important to recognize that the fast-paced, high-stress environment can take a toll on the mental health of founders and employees. In fact, research has shown that entrepreneurs are at a higher risk for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression compared to the general population.

One key factor that contributes to this risk is the pressure to succeed and the fear of failure that can come with starting and running a business. Additionally, the long hours and lack of work-life balance that are often associated with the startup world can also contribute to mental health challenges.

It’s essential that startups prioritize the mental health of their founders and employees, not only for the well-being of the individual, but also for the overall success of the business. Research has shown that mental health issues can negatively impact productivity and decision-making, which can have serious consequences for a company.

There are a few steps that startups can take to support the mental health of their team members:

  1. Encourage open communication and create a safe space for employees to talk about their mental health concerns.
  2. Offer resources such as counseling and mental health benefits to employees.
  3. Foster a culture of self-care by promoting healthy habits such as regular exercise and proper nutrition.
  4. Set boundaries and encourage work-life balance to prevent burnout.

For those not ready to go to the doctor or looking for support, mental health startups Europe offer help through apps.

It’s important to remember that mental health is just as important as physical health, and it’s crucial that startups prioritize the well-being of their founders and employees. By taking steps to support the mental health of their team, startups can create a positive and healthy work environment that leads to success for both the business and its employees.

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