[Thesis]. Manchester, UK: The University of Manchester; 2018.
In the last twenty years, the way in which individuals consume news about politics
has changed. As the internet becomes increasingly accessible, convenient, and inexpensive,
more consumers than ever before choose to get their news online. As this migration
continues, an understanding of online news consumption becomes increasingly important
to the study of media systems. There are several ways in which the internet can be
truly transformative Ă˘ this thesis investigates some of these claims as they pertain
to the comparative study of media systems. The primary dimension of analysis presented
here investigates the internetĂ˘s role in facilitating the homogenisation, or convergence
of domestic media systems.
Using a historical institutionalist approach, this thesis examines internet news in
the United States and the United Kingdom, two cases at the centre of this debate.
To adequately reflect the diversity present in online news consumption, this project
uses a dataset comprised of news stories about two national election campaigns accessed
via search engines, news aggregators, and social media. The analysis presented here
demonstrates the complexity of the online news environment, highlighting key areas
like source distribution and regional news content where path dependency has persisted
despite the transition to online news, and those areas such as regional news sources
where distinguishing between the two cases is more difficult. Where this is the case,
the thesis explores alternative the explanations of Americanisation and technological
determinism. Variance between Google, News360, and NewsWhip data collected for this
thesis demonstrates how the way in which consumers get their news influences how converged
or path dependent the media system appears.