Intermedia Reliance and Sustainability of Emergent Media: A Large-Scale Analysis of American News Outlets’ External Linking Behaviors

Chankyung Pak, Kelley Cotter, Julia DeCook


Although concerns over the sustainability of news outlets online have prevailed for the past decade, niche media—with partisan news outlets as a notable example—have been gaining more influence on public discourse. This study suggests information outsourcing via hyperlinks to other outlets as a sociotechnical factor that explains how online emergent media sustain themselves during the contemporary “period of disruption.” Using computational data collected from 89 U.S.-based news outlets, we applied a gravity model to analyze relationships between pairs of outlets and produced a novel spatial network visualization. We found that emergent media rely more heavily on legacy media as they become institutionalized. Further, we find that “antagonistic” linking across ideology is exclusively a conservative phenomenon. We argue that these patterns have been provided by the new technological affordances that have transformed journalism.


media ecology, journalism, hyperlinks, gravity model, network visualization

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