Web hyperlink profiles of news sites: A comparison of newspapers of USA, Canada, and China

  • Gao Y
  • Vaughan L
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Abstract

Purpose – To construct web visibility profiles of news web sites by examining hyperlinks pointing to the sites. Design/methodology/approach – National newspapers from USA (USA Today), Canada (The Globe and Mail), China (People's Daily) as well as Hong Kong (Sing Tao Daily) were selected for the study. A total of 1,859 links pointing to the four news sites were manually classified into the four aspects of language, country, types of sites, and reasons or purposes for linking. Findings – A comparison of the four news sites provided useful information on their web visibility. The Globe and Mail seemed to have a larger international reach than USA Today. Neither newspaper web site attracted links from China or from pages in the Chinese language. Outside China, People's Daily, an official Chinese Government newspaper, is not as visible as Hong Kong based Sing Tao Daily. USA Today and The Globe and Mail were used more for news citing or reprinting purposes while People's Daily seemed to be used more as a research resource. Research limitations/implications – Link analysis like this provides us with only an indirect view of the online readership and the methodology has limitations. Not all readers create links to the newspaper sites that they visit. Readers could be led to a news site through other venues including “social bookmarking” services. Practical implications – The study shows that link analysis is a novel and useful method that journalists and information professionals can use to gauge online readership and potential impact of news sites. Originality/value – Presented a novel method that complements but not replaces other web user studies such as web server log analysis.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Information media
  • Newspapers
  • Worldwide web

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Authors

  • Yijun Gao

  • Liwen Vaughan

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