Study ranks online newspapers' readability

Nov. 26, 2012 at 7:58 PM
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BRISTOL, England, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Analysis of millions of online articles has produced a ranking of newspapers by readability, language use and subject popularity, British researchers say.

A study led by the University of Bristol and the School of Journalism at Cardiff University used computer algorithms to analyze 2.5 million articles from 498 different English-language online news outlets over ten months.

The study found tabloid online tabloid newspapers are more readable than traditional broadsheets and use more sentimental language, a Bristol release said Monday.

Among 15 U.S. and British newspapers, Britain's Sun is the easiest to read, while The Guardian, also British, is the most difficult to read, researchers said.

The Sun was also found the most likely to use emotional adjectives while The Wall Street Journal uses the fewest.

"Sport" and "Arts" were the most readable topics, the researchers said, while "Politics" and "Environment" were the least readable.

Men dominated the content of newspapers during the period analyzed, with "Sport" and "Financial" articles determined to be the most male biased, with sports news mentioning men eight times more often than women.

"Even some of the more predictable findings give us pause for thought," Cardiff researcher Justin Lewis said. "The extent to which news is male dominated shows how far we are from gender equity across most areas of public life.

"The fact that articles about politics are the least readable might also explain widespread public disengagement."

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