Shifting patterns in Australian newspaper writing styles: Results of a longitudinal study

Jane Johnston, Caroline Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This paper presents the findings of a longitudinal study into the writing styles used in two of Australia's most popular broadsheet newspapers: The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald. The five-year study used content analysis to investigate the dominant writing styles in the news pages of the two metropolitan dailies, initially investigating the presence of narrative news in 2007, but looking more broadly into writing styles as they evolved during the overall period. Drawing on a total sample of almost 7500 articles from 2007, 2009 and 2011, our findings show that narrative journalism has been in steep decline across this period, with commentary and hybrid styles increasing to fill this gap. The findings are considered within the context of the contemporary news environment, which has been beleaguered by reduced readership, economic strife and journalist shedding.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0810-2686
Pages (from-to)117-131
Number of pages15
JournalAustralian Journalism Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


Cite this