Monday, March 13, 2006

More is less

Study Finds More News Media Outlets, Covering Less News - New York Times I have just read an interesting report in the New York Times business section, pointer by Steve Rubel of Micropersuasion. (That's the great thing about blogging: I would never read the business section of the NYT but here I am doing so --- on the day--, because Steve's link caught my interest.) The story is about a review conducted by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, and the broad conclusion (according to the NYT) is that there are more media outlets than last year but they are covering less news. (The NYT, presumably deliberately, does not link directly to the report; I have done so immediately above.) "As part of the review, a special study looked at how a variety of outlets, including newspapers, television, radio and the Internet, covered a single day's worth of news and concluded that there was enormous repetition and amplification of just two dozen stories. " On a day in May 2005, you could get to 14,000 stories by two Google clicks, but they concerned only 24 events. Turning to bloggers, the NYT reported that most issues covered were "broader, longer term" rather than breaking news. " 'Contrary to the charge that the blogosphere is purely parasitic,' the study said, bloggers raised new issues. But they did almost no original reporting: only 1 percent of the posts that day involved a blogger interviewing someone else and only 5 percent involved some other original work, such as examining documents." The report looks at seven blogs (including Instapundit and Daily Kos) for the day in May. From the report itself: "By the numbers, the topics bloggers covered were not all that different from the mainstream press. What differed primarily were the subtopics and the information offered about them. The bloggers talked about some of the same stories as the mainstream press that day, but often in ways that were quite different." There is lots more to read in the review, but I did like the conclusion that "Blogs may be the one medium we found in our sample that could be described as genuinely operating 24 hours a day." I was also impressed by the variety, speed and individuality of the selected blogs' coverage of the events that day in May. (I've decided to stop Technorati tagging of posts for a while because it is quite a drag to do it, and I've discovered a way to get a tag cloud onto Petrona, which should in theory do the same job only better --- will review after a few days.)