More Evidence of the ‘Gannett Effect’

June 1st, 2008; 1:56 pm by Ryan Thornburg

In my last post, I wondered whether the way that Gannet newspapers had changed job titles throughout its chain may have caused my survey of North Carolina online newspaper staffs to skew more “traditional” in their self-perception of the work they do. For your consideration and discussion, here’s some more proof of the “Gannett effect.”

When I take the Asheville Citizen-Times out of the equation, the percentage of respondents who said they were in the “writing” field plummets from 24 percent to 10 percent. First, here’s how the job field breakdown looks without the C-T:

Content Production/Management - 27%
Editing - 21%
Management - 13%
None of the Above - 13%
Writing - 10%
Another field* - 16%
(* “Another field” includes multimedia/video production, technical production, and art & design.)

Compare that to the statewide totals when the Asheville paper is included:

Content Production/Management - 22%
Editing - 17%
Management - 10%
None of the Above - 10%
Writing - 24%
Another field* - 17%
(* “Another field” includes multimedia/video production, technical production, and art & design.)

Looking at Asheville alone, half of the respondents (9 of 18) said they worked in the field of “writing.” A third (6 of 18) said they worked in “none of the above.”

Down the road, it will be interesting to compare with other large papers like the News & Observer the high frequency of Asheville staffers who say they work in the writing field. It’s possible that larger online newsrooms are more likely to have people “writing” content.

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