Less News is Bad News

The New York Times has an article on a recent study that reveals there are more news outlets than ever but they're covering less news. [shock!]

The third annual review of the state of American journalism found that while there were more media outlets this year than ever, they were covering less news.

On May 11, 2005, a date that was chosen randomly, Congress was debating the appointment of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations, the actor Macaulay Culkin was testifying in Michael Jackson's molestation trial and car bombs in Iraq killed 79 people.

On that day, the study said, " Google News offers access within two clicks to 14,000 stories, but really they are accounts of just 24 news events."
This narrow approach to news was shared by most other news outlets. Newspapers, cable news, network news and radio all covered roughly the same stories. The similarities among the sample cities, Houston, Milwaukee and Bend, Oregon, was striking as was the near identical coverage within mediums.

Blogs, however, were the exception.
The blogosphere, meanwhile, shrugged off most of the breaking news, focusing largely on broader, longer-term issues.

"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.
This is true and will always remain true due to the nature of the medium. I'm a blogger. If I called up Scott McClellan and asked for an interview, I'd be laughed at. Even with my own congressman, I'd probably be politely told by a secretary 'the Congressman appreciates you're interest and time, but he's busy..." Very few bloggers have the clout to receive interviews from 'big name' players. I'd be interested to know just how many of those blogs were providing opinions. Not technically news, but still significantly different from blindly regurgitating the news as reported in other 'traditional' sources.
Cable news was the "shallowest" and most "ephemeral" of the media, the study said. Newspapers, which are the biggest news-gathering organizations, covered the most topics, provided the most extensive sourcing and provided the most angles on particular events, it said, "though perhaps in language and sourcing tilted toward elites."

Many of the national broadcast reports quoted the same few people.

"More coverage, in other words, does not always mean greater diversity of voices," the study said. "Consuming the news continuously does not mean being better informed."
Especially true for Fox News viewers...

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