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At bottom there is an assumption by most journalists that news is for people, that out there are readers, viewers and listeners. Editors, circulation managers and advertisers care greatly about the number of people who buy a publication, listen or watch at particular times. They also care about whether they're reaching the target audience and worry greatly about audience fragmentation and audience segmentation.

Audience measurement has become more sophisticated in the past 20 years. Not only are numbers gathered by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (for newspapers and magazines), BARB (for television) and RAJAR (for radio), but surveys and focus groups also generate information on the profile of the audience; their age, their interests, their habits. Measurement systems carefully define words such as ‘listener’, ‘viewer’ and ...

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