A Tale of Two Newspapers | Social Commentary

| June 25, 2020

“The results might amaze you”

Our story begins in the fair City of Calgary, where exists two grand newspaper families (well of course there are more, but these two are the two grand families in town).

Family 1: The Heralds

Family 2: The Suns

As you can see the Heralds have been proud of their heritage (in a nice friendly Calgarian way of course) from a very long time. The Suns, being a much later arrival in the City, don’t give a hoot to such legacy mumbo jumbo. Bold, young, bright, the Suns have traversed these lands in a blaze of glory to capture the hearts of several of its inhabitants.

The Heralds and their cousins across the globe are referred to as Broadsheets (based on Genealogy), which is the traditional vertically long, foldable, and non-stapled newspaper.

The Suns Genealogical lineage is referred to as Tabloids (or Glossies in some countries), which are the nearly square shaped and sometimes stapled paper.

The two families get along just fine being on their separate merry ways for the most part. As long as the respective family members (known in some collectives as reporters or journalists) keep their professional decorum in private and public life, all is good.

“But were these families really that different?”

Sometimes though there were scuffles between the two. Hey, admit it, everyone loves a little showdown now and then in the relatively bucolic Prairies, eh? This usually happened in their battle for followers (some collectives call them readers).

In order to win the hearts (some collectives call it readership subscription base but the latter just sounds too unjolly so lets stick to hearts) of the citizenry, both families turned to their respective godfathers for suggestions and the response they got back was the same from both the fathers, who said…

“Seeketh Brand Diffrentiation”

And so both sides did as adviced.

The Heralds, keeping with the allure of their heritage brand, preferred to be associated with adjectives like ‘true journalism’,  ‘investigative reporting’, ‘intellectualism’, ‘professionalism’ and ‘local and international affairs’.

The Suns of course took the opposite and a more dashing stance. They prefer to be known as ‘sensational’, ‘local’, ‘community minded’, ‘citizenry advocate’ and ‘sizzling’.

The lazy commoners believed both of course.

So a diverging line was created in the minds of the citizens in time. Factions among the commoners were created that supported (sometimes vehemently) one or the other side, with a few ambivalent ones that traversed both sides of the lines – generally caused by inducements of a few weeks of free delivery offered by School/University student or forgetful past residents who forgot to cancel the daily subscription. (Hey, people will read anything when its FREE!! Trust me).

But were these families really that different? By that I mean not in terms of extrinsic features such as the look and feel and the content. But rather intrinsically. This is the question that one Pied Piper in town was befallen with as part of his musings for a topic for a term paper. So he did some forensic research on this matter.

The results might amaze you.

The data sets selected for the quantitative variance analysis from sampling of weekday and weekend editions of both newspapers were as follows:

1. Total photos
2. Total pages
3. Total no. of Advertisements
4. Number of words per line per column
5. Maximum number of lines per column in an article
6. Total number of articles
7. No. of headline (front-page) articles

A few charts from the data investigated and compiled are presented below.

Source: 2011, ‘Managing Information Quantitative Analysis’, University of Durham, UK

Source:  2011, ‘Managing Information Quantitative Analysis’, University of Durham, UK

Source:  2011, ‘Managing Information Quantitative Analysis’, University of Durham, UK

As evident from the preceding charts and observation, it seems that statistically speaking the two newspapers are NOT THAT DIFFERENT. No, really!

The Piper used the data sets in more rigorous analysis called the Chi-Squared Test developed by two dudes names Jessop & Ashurst who were probably too busy to read newspapers themselves as to make this deduction themselves. The Chi-squared test does a wonderful job in mathematically testing if there is independence between two data sets.

Warning: Egghead lingo approaching

The resulting chi-square for Weekend papers is X2=2.224 and for the
Weekday papers is X2=3.089. In both cases, the X2 is less than x2=5.99 (2 degrees
freedom and 5% tail probability).

Now in simple human language:

Thus the data sets observed (ads, photos, articles) in
both papers for both editions are considered not that different from a qualitative and statistical perspective.

Well how about that!


Acknowledgement: This study would not be possible without the expertise and knowledge base of the students and professors at University of Durham, U.K (A World Top 100 university)

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Category: Calgary Lifestyle, Social Commentary

About the Author ()

Larkycanuck is the pseudonym for the spirited, spontaneous and zestful Canadian. The Blog is focused on showcasing budget adventure travels for working families. Larkycanuck has traveled to over 15 countries, 38 cities in 10 years. He has never quit a job to do this. He travels with his wife and on some trips with the house rabbit (Pepper).

Comments (7)

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  1. What I’m getting from this is that it takes the same amount of time to read either paper.

    • larkycanuck says:

      Hi Lonnie
      not sure about time taken but for one thing if you are reading both then its very likely that North Hill Mazda ad is hitting your brains twice and you are very likely to end up one day driving a Mazda 🙂

  2. careerbabs says:

    This was an amazing article. I found the comparisons and calculations very thought provoking and well-written. People often talk about how there is not much to read in the Sun newspapers but apparently there is almost as much– obviously a different slant. I was most interested in the weekend statistics which showed advertisers and people preferred the Herald Weekend to the Sun Weekend — there was more to read from the Herald so if you like more words (or ads)to contemplate on your weekend read, the Calgary Herald it seems is the newspaper of choice.

  3. careerbabs says:

    Loved The tale of two newspapers — really well-written and thought provoking.The Sun and Herald seem to be neck and neck during the week but it appears the Calgary Herald on Weekends still has the upper hand with more words and more ads… perhaps readers prefer to have their minds expanded on national and global affairs during the weekend or the entertainment section is the big draw? Food for thought.