Companionship In The Classifieds: The Adoption of Personal Advertisements by Daily Newspapers. A study by Debra L. Merskin an assistant professor in the school of Journalism and Communication and Mara Huberlie a graduate student at the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University, published in J&MC Quarterly, Vol. 73, No.1, Spring 1996, Pages 219-229.
The article deals with the issue of finding a romantic partner, in the modern urbanized society, via personal advertisements in mass mediums. This study investigates the presence of media dependency in everyday life and the adoption of newspapers of personal advertisements.
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The research was conducted as follows:
A telephone or fax survey was conducted, in a population of 268 daily newspapers with a circulation of 50,000 or more copies per day. A randomly selected sample of 67 newspapers has been chosen using a systematic skip interval system. The randomly selected sample represents 25% of the population. Newspaper managers have been interviewed during normal circumstances and a 100% response rate was achieved.
These managers have been interviewed according to a ten-item questionnaire, and an answer sheet was one to verify the replies.
The questionnaire offered diversity in term of questions, from which, whether the newspaper was running voice personals, year of adoption, the criteria of rejecting ads, the mechanics of the ads, the days of publication for those ads, the method of response to those ads, and the cost of each.
The researchers used the content of analysis method for studying and analyzing the issue in a systematic, objective and quantitative way.
They have formulated two research questions:
- To what extent have newspapers actually begun to provide personalized advertisements?
- What pattern did the adoptions follow over time?
Then they have defined the population, which is equal to 268 newspaper.
The selected sample has been drawn to 67.
The categories of content to be analyzed have been chosen and were integrated in the addressed questions.
A quantitative system of interpretation of results has been established and reflected the answers to the questions. Table and graphs portrayed the findings.
An analyses of the results have been done and conclusions has been drawn as follows:
- As society continues to become more complex and individuals become more isolated, men and women will turn to the media to find partners.
- The daily press will respond in kind by providing this service to readers as for creating new base revenue for itself.
The method used in this study was quite appropriate, it has well defined and describes the present issue. The method also succeeded in testing the hypothesis and interpreting the results. It also succeeded in comparing media content to the real world, and how media and society are in mutual interaction.
The study established a starting point for new studies of media function, of interpersonal intermediary in which the media acts as an agent between individuals in the absence of traditional informal sources of information.
The statistical procedure is in a bit weak, the sample selected from the population does not reflect more than 25% of the whole population that is a low percentage. Magazines and non-daily newspapers should be also involved in this kind of study to reflect more the interference of newspaper in interpersonal relations.
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