News about News: John G. Speed and the First Newspaper Content Analysis Academic Article uri icon


  • This article examines the history of the first quantitative content analysis of a newspaper. John Gilmer Speed, a former New York World editor, used this research method to compare the content of four New York dailies published in 1881 and in 1893. He concluded that new journalism had injected high levels of gossip and scandal into newspapers during the twelve-year interval. The new material adversely affected readers in two ways, he believed: It displaced useful news that readers needed to function in a democratic society, and it provided examples of poor behavior that readers might imitate. His study served as a foundation for later academic muckrakers, who used content analyses to critique newspapers' interactions with other social institutions.

published proceedings

  • Journalism History

author list (cited authors)

  • Sumpter, R. S.

publication date

  • January 1, 2001 11:11 AM