Determinants of newspaper readership in Kenya
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The growth, accessibility, and availability of the Internet has drastically altered the means by which individuals receive news and information. Consequently, this has affected the circulation of newspapers. Newspaper publishers are struggling to maintain their market share while also promoting newspaper readership among a younger demographic, which prefers using the Internet to get their news and information. Due to this change and amid the new realities of the Covid-19 pandemic, this study endeavours to find out the determinants of newspaper readership in Kenya. To effectively answer this question, the study was guided by four specific objectives: To determine the influence of cost on newspaper readership in Kenya; to determine how technology influences newspaper readership in Kenya; to determine how content influences newspaper readership in Kenya and; to determine how accessibility influences newspaper readership in Kenya. The study was based on Technological Determinism and Uses and Gratification theories. The study adopted a descriptive survey approach. The target population for the study was 328 newspaper readers from which a sample of 175 was calculated. This study used non-probability sampling technique. Specifically, the convenience sampling technique was applied. The questionnaires were self-distributed to participants. The data was analysed using the SPSS statistical package adopting both descriptive and inferential statistical approaches whereby data was presented in figures and tables and supported with reviewed literature. The correlation results showed that there existed positive and significant associations between content, technology, and newspaper readership whilst positive but insignificant associations were observed between newspaper readership, cost and accessibility. The regression findings indicate increase in cost and technology would result in a reduction of newspaper readership and increases in content and accessibility would yield an increase in newspaper readership. The study concludes an increase in price of newspapers and access to technology would yield a decline in print newspaper readership; an increase in content of print newspapers would result in greater readership; that greater circulation of printed newspaper results in an increase of newspaper readership. The study recommends that print media focuses on content that is targeted towards the youth to encourage readership among this age group while also enhancing circulation to increase readership. There is need for newspapers to diversify the topics and subjects that are covered in their headlines, front page, news articles, and editorials to elicit interest from readers. Lastly, media houses should consider the cost of newspapers in their strategy to improve newspaper readership. Lastly, but not least, the study contributed to knowledge in understanding newspaper readership in a digitally saturated environment while suggesting areas of future research on newspaper readership for future researchers.