Update: We've issued a call for help in conducting research in additional countries.  Learn how you can help.

After the success of our recent study, The Internet's Role in Political Campaigns, we decided to perform a study on America's newspapers. It is widely known that America's newspapers are suffering from declining readership andNewspaper-734617.jpg circulation. In many cases, this is occurring due to the availability of alternative forms of news and the changing habits of Americans. The Internet and the prevalence of free news sites, including newspaper sites and larger network sites, such as CNN, MSNBC, and Yahoo, are often credited with playing a major role in the problems experienced by the newspaper industry. In our most recent study, The Use of the Internet by America's Newspapers, we researched the websites of America's top 100 newspapers by circulation, and evaluated them based on their use of 14 different Web 2.0 features. These criteria were comprehensive, and included a wide variety of Web tools, such as reporter blogs, video and podcasts, message boards, and RSS feeds. We pursued this study in order to determine whether newspapers are trying to compete with the Internet or use it to expand readership over a different medium. The results of our research clearly showed that America's newspapers, unlike political candidates, are generally embracing the Internet and are using new and improving Web tools to their advantage. Here are some of our results:

  • 80 of the nation's top 100 newspapers offered reporter blogs. On 63 of these blogs, readers could comment on posts written by reporters.
  • 76 of the nation's top 100 newspapers offer RSS feeds on their websites. All of these feeds are partial feeds, and none included ads.
  • Major Web tools, such as blogs and RSS penetrated both the most and least circulated newspapers.
  • Video was the most common form of multimedia found on the websites, and was offered by 61 of the newspapers.

Based on these findings and others, it seems that today's newspapers are making a significant effort to reach Web-focused audiences with mediums that are relevant to today's virtual society. Take a look at our study and let us know what you think!