The road to “reader-friendly”: US newspapers and readership in the late twentieth century

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Readership has always been a necessary element in news transmission, but it took on added importance with journalism's widespread commercialization in the 1800s. It became an increasingly urgent issue, particularly for US newspapers, toward the end of the twentieth century. Readership was unexpectedly in steady decline and the cause didn't appear to be clearly identifiable. As readers left, the print industry pulled together to find out why—and to strategize, collaboratively, on ways to win readers back, keep the ones they still had, and attract new ones. A key focus became making content “reader-friendly.” This paper delves deep into some of the dynamics and outcomes of that time. Newspaper readership continues to decline in the early part of the twenty-first century, but readership online is on the rise. The study suggests that readership itself may not have been the problem; newspaper readership was.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1189055
JournalCogent Social Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 31 2016


  • journalism
  • newspapers
  • reader-friendly
  • readership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'The road to “reader-friendly”: US newspapers and readership in the late twentieth century'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this