Communication technology improvements introduced in recent years have opened up media outlets to global audiences. Individuals in countries around the globe have Internet access to news media throughout the world, including the U.S. Thus, readership for a U.S. newspaper may extend well beyond the country's borders. With the likely increase in online newspaper readership, factors previously considered in measuring readability in print newspapers may not be sufficient (TxReadability, n.d.). The New York Times and Microsoft Corporation collaborated on a program to aid individuals in reading the newspaper online and with mobile devices (Microsoft News Center, 2006). Called the Times Reader, it "... provides the increased functionality of the Web, including continuous updates, multimedia and hyperlinks" (p. 1).
In addition to technology advancements, inexpensive and efficient transportation systems have made global travel affordable. Further, flexible immigration rules make the U.S. one of the most diversely populated countries in the world. Ponder, too, that "the concept of readability also is becoming an important aspect to consider in Web accessibility for individuals with disabilities" (p. 1). When all of these factors are considered, one can readily see that literacy and reading abilities vary tremendously throughout the populous.
This study examined the readability of newspaper columns written by winners of national journalism awards.
Wikipedia defines readability as "... the ease in which text can be read and understood" (Readability , n.d.). Multiple readability formulas have been developed to aid writers in developing...