The Effect Of Corporate Media Ownership On The Depth Of Local Coverage And Issue Agendas: A Computational Case Study Of Six Sinclair TV Station Websites

This paper explores online news coverage on television news websites for a set of Sinclair stations and how it is changing:

Sinclair Broadcast Group owns over 170 US television stations. Using agenda setting and agenda cutting as a theoretical lens, this study quantifies the effect of Sinclair ownership by analyzing over 340,000 news stories from six station websites over 4 years through time series modeling. Sinclair ownership negatively changes total news stories output for all six outlets. The percentage of news that is local continues to decline at all but one website. This decline predates Sinclair but continues to date. Stations appear to rely on syndicated (a.k.a., reposted) coverage more than ever, but this again predates Sinclair. An agenda cutting effect was observed; Sinclair cut party politics coverage at all six stations.

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