Online and print newspapers in Europe in 2003. Evolving towards complementarity

Richard van der Wurff, Edmund Lauf, Auksė Balčytienė, Leopoldina Fortunati, Susan L. Holmberg, Steve Paulussen,  and Ramón Salaverría


This article assesses online newspapers in Europe from a media evolutionary perspective, ten years after the introduction of the World Wide Web. Comparing print and online front pages of 51 newspapers in 14 countries in 2003, we argue that online newspapers complement print newspapers in modest ways. Online, publishers put more emphasis on service information, offer additional news items, that nonetheless report on similar topics in similar ways, and add personal interactivity, content selectivity and real-time news to the print news offering.

One subset of online newspapers charges for services, and offers more content and personal interactivity. Another, partly overlapping subset offers more original news; in a short and anonymous format. Overall, however, online newspapers in Europe make up a heterogeneous group, suggesting that online newspapers still have to find their definite form and role in the European news market.

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The European Journal of Communication Research is an established forum for scholarship and academic debate in the field of communication science and research from a European perspective. Communications highlights the concerns of communication science through the publication of articles, research reports, review essays and book reviews on theoretical and methodological developments considered from a European perspective.