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Guest Thinkers

State of the News Media 2010 (Part II)

Yesterday we looked at three conclusions made by the Pew Research Center’s State of the News Media 2010 report published by the Project for Excellence in Journalism. Today we look at three remaining conclusions concerning money, technology and transparency in the news media.

Any Joe or Josephine with a pen and paper can walk into town and make a name for themselves as a journalist, but it’s more difficult than ever to upload ink and notebook fibers. Tomorrow’s edition will be written on an iPad, if it’s written at all. Digital video technologies and social networking platforms have allowed news production companies to emphasize breaking news more than deliberate, feature based stories. As a result, getting the story out immediately has become a bigger priority while a thoroughly explaining the context of the story has become a smaller one. Ironically, the amount of news sharing across Internet platforms has increased while the amount of news gathering at the level of the reporter has decreased. Last Monday afternoon, Twitter users were Tweeting a link to a New York Times article once every four seconds. In a day when hits on the website translates into dollars, getting the story out immediately has become a bigger priority while thoroughly explaining the context of the story, which requires more resources, has become a smaller one. Take for example The Huffington Post’s new Twitter Edition which aggregates Tweets.

Different private organizations are stepping in to fill the revenue vacuum in the journalism industry. Some are collaborating in the public interest such as ProPublica, a non-profit investigative reporting organization that was just awarded the Pulitzer Prize for journalism for reporting it did in collaboration with the New York Times. Other organizations are less transparent such as the increasing number of think tanks who supply news producers with information consistent with the policy agendas.

Finally, while new media is on the rise, old news producers still bake the best bread, so to speak, and new media still enjoys breaking it with their readers. For this reason, what people learn through new media sources suffers greatly because of funding difficulties that old news producers are facing.


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