Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Steve Brown

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The value of the daily newspaper to the individuals who read it is at the core of this study. Some have felt that the newspaper has been affected for the worse by a loss in competition in many communities. Their worries often centre on the effects that the loss could have on the role of a newspaper and on its responsibilities to the public. The previous research on this topic has failed to turn up evidence of a substantial difference between monopoly and competitive newspapers. Canadian works on this subject were scant and, in light of the report of the Royal Commission on Newspapers (mainly inconclusive on this topic), this study attempted to look at the question of the effects of different competitive situations on the political content of the daily newspaper. The study limited itself to the examination of political news stories because it was felt that in this area, differences that would occur would have a greater impact on the lives of the readers than differences in the non-political section. The Canadian newspaper situation presented the opportunity to study two newspapers which had recently experienced opposite changes in the degree of competitiveness of the market they were in. The Edmonton Journal faced an increase in competition and the Ottawa Citizen was left in a monopoly situation. The study examined both newspapers in monopoly and competitive times. This, it was hoped, would allow the study to make conclusions about the effects of different competitive situations on the political content of the newspaper. The political content was broken down into three areas, political news stories, editorials and political comment and letters to the editor. These areas were examined using both qualitative and quantitative content analysis. Measures were created and tested to allow for the study of the effects of different competitive situations. The thesis adopted here was that no differences would be found in either newspaper that was statistically significant or consistent across the two competitive times. The results bear this out. In none of the categories were results achieved that discounted the thesis. A few isolated differences were reported, but often they were not statistically significant and they were rarely similar across the two newspapers. Thus, practically the monopoly newspaper does not appear to be a worse newspaper than the competitive newspaper. The study concludes that currently, the competitive status of a newspaper is not a major factor affecting political content of the newspaper.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season