Jan Laughlin

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Journalism and Mass Communications

First Advisor

Richard W. Lee


This thesis attempts to solve the dilemma by presenting a model for an in-house market research study for a weekly newspaper that cannot afford an outside research firm. The following study was developed for one weekly newspaper, the Mobridge Tribune, Mobridge, South Dakota. One area in which newspaper market research can gather information is media competition. This is particularly important with the diversity in media apparent today. Where once the newspaper was the only business on main street, there are now other print competitors like marriage mail, direct mail, shoppers, circulars and suburban editions. The traditional electronic media are additional competition and greater challenges lie ahead with newcomers including cable television and videotext. Sensing other media competition in its own market, the Mobridge Tribune sought market research data on (l) what are the media preferences of the market, and (2) what are the reading and purchasing habits of the Tribune's readers. That information would allow the Tribune to evaluate the competitive situation primarily with the area radio stations. Radio was perceived to be the greatest threat to the Mobridge Tribune. Another important role of newspaper market research is market identification and reidentification. Star firmly believes that it is probably more important for newspapers to research their audiences because of their multiple segments of both readers and advertisers. Complex audiences require calculated observation through market research, he said. The methodology is most applicable for weeklies and suburban dailies, because of the similar audience characteristics and market information needs. The following study is particularly relevant for a community newspaper attempting to learn more about the community it serves and the competitive shopping areas and media on a smaller and less complex scale. The Tribune study also has applications for larger newspapers and other operations such as publishing houses of magazines and broadcast media. Although this is a market profile study, the sampling information and general research guidelines provided would be useful in developing other studies such as editorial and advertising performance surveys.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Newspapers -- Circulation --Research
Advertising, Newspaper -- South Dakota
Mobridge (S.D.)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


No Copyright - United State