State of the News Media
April 1, 2004 11:01 PM   Subscribe

State of the Media Report 2004 by, which seeks to improve news coverage in a more neutral fashion than those who cry bias from the left and right. The group offers advice for average citizens and others. The report focuses mainly on US media and identifies eight trends. The content analyses finds that newspapers have more lifestyle news than in the past, but less government and foreign affairs, even with wars abroad. More front page articles about issues, less on crime and disasters. Network news was heavy on foreign affairs, government, accidents, disaster, crime and health care. The cable networks had a lot of politics and Iraq stuff, but also a lot more celebrity/entertainment/lifestyle stuff than the big four. Local TV news treats crime as topic A. The magazine audience is aging, and total pages are declining, but some, like The Economist and the New Yorker, have found success in niches. Internet journalism is "still largely material from old media rather than something original." And it's still text-y. But it is clearly the future of journalism. But don't pronounce the dinosaurs dead yet. Radio once ruled, and in a way it still does: 94 percent still tune in to radio news at least once a week.
posted by Slagman (7 comments total)
There's a lot of interesting research in here. People can draw their own conclusions about what it means. For example, from the content analysis of cable news programming:

"If people had watched one of these cable channels for the entire 16 hours, they would have in the course of the full day seen:
Two minutes about education
One minute about the environment
One minute about healthcare
Four minutes about the arts and culture
Two and a half minutes about science
Half a minute on medical research
Just under four minutes on transportation
Six minutes on family and parenting issues

Given that most people do not watch a cable channel for 16 hours a day, in practical terms they saw virtually nothing about these areas.

In contrast, on a given day, watching for 16 hours, they would have seen:

More than an hour of crime news
One hour of accidents and disasters
53 minutes of lifestyle coverage
41 minutes of celebrity/entertainment news
An hour and 35 minutes about politics
Two hours and 17 minutes about Iraq"
posted by Slagman at 11:07 PM on April 1, 2004 [1 favorite]

unbiased news is so last century.

With so many voices, just find one you agree with and relax.
posted by delmoi at 11:08 PM on April 1, 2004


Maybe. Though this isn't really about bias, a separate issue.
Hard to measure.

On your point: Trouble is, I often don't know what I think, and until I do, I'd like my source to keep its opinions to itself so I can sort out the facts, and compare the facts across many different outlets, which is one thing that is so brilliant about the Internet.

One thing to keep in mind, as long as money is at stake int he world, people will want information that makes an effort at reliability. It's too tempting for someone with a point of view to spin the details. Set aside politics, think of stocks (remember stocks?). Whose info do you trust, the biased news from your mutual fund manager or your broker, or a more reliable independent analysis? People lost millions when they bought into the lie. I don't trust anybody, even if they seem to feed my preconceptions, when it comes to the facts.
Trust, but verify.

I think the market agrees. There's a good bit of information buried in here about the economics of online news. The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have taken two very different approaches to making money. NYT uses a free model with registration; WSJ requires money up front. Both seem to work. But notice that the dinosaur side of their operation, old media, is worth hundreds of millions more a year. That's a lot of customers for the information that they gather. A lot of people are still ponying up cash for supposedly unbiased news reports, and they will for some time. What else will the bloggers have to write about? They need data to chew and digest. The chattering classes need their data fix so they have something to chatter about, even if it's just the quality of the data.
posted by Slagman at 11:23 PM on April 1, 2004

In regards to on-line journalism it says " While a good many of the lead stories are new through the course of the day (roughly half), the amount of updating of running stories with substantive new information is more limited (a little more than one in ten stories)."

I find this very true MeFi is a great example stories come and go and there is little follow up or depth or way to highlight stories as more important than others (beside the [This is Good] tag).

A few blogs address this by restricting who can post and the amount of posts, but still there is a lack of continuity. BoingBoing and others try to create the illusion of continuity with occasional "memes" like posting about lamp shades over the course of 3 or 4 days for example.

It would be cool to see some way to address the follow-up and on-going story and depth issues in a blog format so that those who are interested can spin off and run with a story in a central place.
posted by stbalbach at 11:51 PM on April 1, 2004 2004
Centrist meta-reporting organization has released their State of the News Media 2004.

Hat tip to MetaFilter.

Posted by jay @ 04/02/2004 01:37 PM | TrackBack

Just for the record.
posted by y2karl at 2:24 PM on April 2, 2004

Excellent post, Slagman. As a potential journalist, this site is pure gold.
posted by JDC8 at 7:15 PM on April 2, 2004

[this is excellent] - thanks Slagman!
posted by madamjujujive at 11:44 PM on April 2, 2004

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