news-site-analysisPublished on March 13th, 2014

The Center for Media Engagement examined a representative sample of 155 newspaper and television news websites in the United States to understand how they were using social media buttons, comment sections, online polls, lists of hyperlinks, and mobile versions.

The report shows that

  • Over 95% of news sites allow site visitors to “share,” “like,” or “recommend” news content on social media.
  • News sites let users “share” content via Facebook more than “like” or “recommend” the content.
  • Over 90% of news sites have a comment section.
  • Comment section codes of conduct appear on 33% of top television news and 74% of top newspaper sites.
  • Interactive polls appear more frequently on newspaper sites than on television news sites.
  • News sites rarely warn visitors that online poll results are not scientific.
  • Over two-thirds of news sites include links to related and recommended content.
  • Over 70% of news sites have links to their most popular content.  Of these sites, approximately three-fourths require scrolling before links to the most popular content are visible on the homepage.
  • Approximately 30% of local television news stations and top newspapers advertise a mobile app on their homepage, but not on the main page of their mobile site.


  • Natalie (Talia) Jomini Stroud

    Natalie (Talia) Jomini Stroud

    Natalie (Talia) Jomini Stroud (PhD, University of Pennsylvania) is the founding and current Director of the Center for Media Engagement and Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. Her book, Niche News: The Politics of News Choice, received the Outstanding Book Award from the International Communication Association, and inspired the early development of the Center. Her research examines the use and effects of political news content.

  • Joshua Scacco

    Joshua Scacco
    Faculty Research Associate

    Joshua M. Scacco (PhD, University of Texas at Austin, 2014) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of South Florida. He also serves as a Faculty Research Associate with the Center for Media Engagement. He specializes in political communication, media content and effects, and quantitative research methods. Josh’s research is focused on how emerging communication technologies influence established agents in American political life, including news organizations and the presidency. Before joining USF, Josh served on the faculty at Purdue University, worked in public relations at the state and federal level, and worked for a member of legislative leadership in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as well as a U.S. senator.

  • Alex Curry

    Alex Curry
    Postdoctoral Research Fellow

    Alex Curry (PhD, University of Texas at Austin) is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Media Engagement. His research interests include political communication and civic engagement, and he is particularly interested in how sports tie people to their community and to each other. From 2005 to 2010, he served as a writer for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. When he’s not working, Alex enjoys spending time in the outdoors with his wife and kids.