Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Major

Business and Organizational Communication - Public Relations

Research Sponsor

Dr. Val Pipps

First Reader

Julie Cajigas

Second Reader

Kathleen D. Clark

Abstract

The purpose of this research is to identify how local newspapers and newsrooms are converging to social media. An Ohio newspaper, The Post volunteered to have its Facebook Pages analytics studied over the course of two months, August through September. A constructed week was formed and four of the company’s Facebook Pages were analyzed. The study intends to examine the current social media position of The Post, assess the potential or areas of growth, and create a best practices manual to propel the selected newspaper’s social media accounts forward. Unlike traditional newspaper consumers, social media users tend to gather their news towards the weekend, more specifically on Fridays, the findings suggest. To further advance the credibility of the data analysis, social media editors Mark Smith from The Washington Post, Dan Kadar of The Akron Beacon Journal, and Amanda Harnocz from The Cleveland Plain Dealer, were interviewed to determine other companies’ social media practices. These interviews informed that content and post strategy directly impact success of a given social media post. In addition, the research looks toward the importance of teaching journalists to think about how the story would be crafted for social media while writing their given beats.

Comments

I would like to thank Dr. Val Pipps for providing me with the support and guidance necessary to complete this piece of research. I also owe my sincerest gratitude to professor Julie Cajigas who worked tirelessly with me in regards to the statistical analysis and reporting. In addition, both Mark Smith of The Washington Post and Dan Kadar of The Akron Beacon Journal deserve a formal thank you for allowing me to interview and learn from them. A final special thank you is also owed to David Sickels, of The Post newspapers, without whom the project would not have existed.