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, The University of Texas at Austin) is an Assistant Professor of Media Theory & Politics in the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University. He also serves as a Research Associate for the Center for Media Engagement (CME). He is interested broadly in the communicative role elites and organizations, including political leaders, journalists, and news outlets, play in American political life.

  • Alex Curry

    Alex Curry
    Research Associate

    Alex Curry (MA, Brigham Young University) is a doctoral student in communication studies and an assistant instructor at the University of Texas at Austin. His research interests include political communication and civic engagement, and he is particularly interested in how politicians use their own personal involvement with sports as a way to connect with voters. From 2005 to 2010, he served as a writer for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. When he’s not studying, Alex enjoys hiking with his wife and four children.