Imitation in the Quest to Survive: Lessons from News Media on the Early Web

Matthew S. Weber, Katherine Ognyanova, Allie Kosterich


This article examines the patterns of hyperlinking among key online newspapers from 1996 to 2000 and provides critical insight into the processes by which media companies adapt to new technology. Theories of organizational imprinting and imitation in the media industry are used to frame the rise of online news in an effort to describe processes of growth and to track the interactions among legacy newspapers during a formational period in the development of online news. Patterns of digital connectivity reveal the evolution of an increasingly close-knit online news community and the trajectory of leadership positions in the online environment. The analysis reveals various approaches that leading organizations used as they adapted to online technology, providing guidance for organizations moving forward.


news, organizations, new media, Internet, network analysis

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