Katie Thompson


Research for an essay exploring the questions of if and why stories featuring the common man in newspapers fascinate readers the most and then researching how that answer is supported on the front pages of a national paper versus a local paper. To set context for those topics, I will also dedicate some research to the changing platforms of the newspaper and what elements of our human nature keep us coming back to the news. If possible, I will try to incorporate an article series from my work from the Gordon College News Service.


Humans have relied upon stories to communicate for thousands of years. Stories are found in ancient manuscripts, in conversations around the kitchen table, in airports and in media outlets. The media landscape changes everyday and one of the most familiar and necessary platforms for telling stories, the newspaper, is not immune. The newspaper has always told stories, but today it looks different. By researching the work of professionals in the newspaper industry, as well as those outside of it, I have written a research paper that argues that the values of storytelling that include intrigue, connectedness, and trust are what matter most to readers. These values are most effective in narrative, feature stories that cover the ordinary man- and that is the direction the majority of American newspapers have gone. In an age of instant news access, the newspaper needs to be different. A feature, everyman style is how it is setting itself apart. I have tested this in personal research by tracking the front page of the New York Times and the Salem News for one month for story content. The results confirm the trend towards a newspaper story full of narrative and the man on the street. No matter its platform in the future, the need for story will always persist and the newspaper can and should be there to meet it.