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Pew State of the News Media 2013

March 28, 2013 in Policy, Resources

In 2012, a continued erosion of news reporting resources converged with growing opportunities for those in politics, government agencies, companies and others to take their messages directly to the public.

Signs of the shrinking reporting power are documented throughout this year’s report. Estimates for newspaper newsroom cutbacks in 2012 put the industry down 30% since its peak in 2000 and below 40,000 full-time professional employees for the first time since 1978. In local TV, our special content report reveals, sports, weather and traffic now account on average for 40% of the content produced on the newscasts studied while story lengths shrink. On CNN, the cable channel that has branded itself around deep reporting, produced story packages were cut nearly in half from 2007 to 2012. Across the three cable channels, coverage of live events during the day, which often require a crew and correspondent, fell 30% from 2007 to 2012 while interview segments, which tend to take fewer resources and can be scheduled in advance, were up 31%. Time magazine, the only major print news weekly left standing, cut roughly 5% of its staff in early 2013 as a part of broader company layoffs. And in African-American news media, the Chicago Defender has winnowed its editorial staff to just four while The Afro cut back the number of pages in its papers from 28-32 in 2008 to 16-20 in 2012. A growing list of media outlets, such as Forbes magazine, use technology by a company called Narrative Science to produce content by way of algorithm, no human reporting necessary. And some of the newer nonprofit entrants into the industry, such as the Chicago News Cooperative, have, after launching with much fanfare, shut their doors.

This adds up to a news industry that is more undermanned and unprepared to uncover stories, dig deep into emerging ones or to question information put into its hands. And findings from our new public opinion survey released in this report reveal that the public is taking notice. Nearly one-third of the respondents (31%) have deserted a news outlet because it no longer provides the news and information they had grown accustomed to.

At the same time, newsmakers and others with information they want to put into the public arena have become more adept at using digital technology and social media to do so on their own, without any filter by the traditional media. They are also seeing more success in getting their message into the traditional media narrative.” Source: Pew State of the News Media 2013

Pew State of the News Media 2012

April 6, 2012 in Distribution, Resources, Revenue, Technology

The State of the News Media 2012 is the ninth edition of our annual report on the status of American journalism…

New research released in this report finds that mobile devices are adding to people’s news consumption, strengthening the lure of traditional news brands and providing a boost to long-form journalism. Eight in ten who get news on smartphones or tablets, for instance, get news on conventional computers as well. People are taking advantage, in other words, of having easier access to news throughout the day – in their pocket, on their desks and in their laps.

At the same time, a more fundamental challenge that we identified in this report last year has intensified — the extent to which technology intermediaries now control the future of news.

Two trends in the last year overlap and reinforce the sense that the gap between the news and technology industries is widening. First, the explosion of new mobile platforms and social media channels represents another layer of technology with which news organizations must keep pace.

Second, in the last year a small number of technology giants began rapidly moving to consolidate their power by becoming makers of “everything” in our digital lives. Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and a few others are maneuvering to make the hardware people use, the operating systems that run those devices, the browsers on which people navigate, the e-mail services on which they communicate, the social networks on which they share and the web platforms on which they shop and play. And all of this will provide these companies with detailed personal data about each consumer. Source: Pew State of the Media 2012

Knight Digital Media Center

November 23, 2011 in Craft, Education, Resources, Technology

The Knight Digital Media Center was launched in April 2006 to focus on helping journalists succeed in the rapidly changing media landscape of the 21st Century.

The Center provides competitive fellowships to traditional journalists from print and broadcast media who seek multimedia skill training and want to make the transition to New Media journalism. The goal is to provide the foundation of technical skills and story-telling techniques required by New Media platforms. This training is done at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism under the supervision of Lanita Pace-Hinton, director of multimedia training programs for the Center.

For digitally fluent journalists, who have already crossed the bridge into New Media newsrooms, the Center provides training fellowships at USC Annenberg School for seminars focused on professional growth, critical thinking, digital leadership and news entrepreneurship. The goal is to increase the depth and sophistication of their work and their understanding of the changing news ecology. This training is under the supervision of Vikki Porter, director of the Center.

The Knight Digital Media Center is built on the foundation of the Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism which trained more than 750 professional journalists between 2000 and 2006, as well as providing at least 75,000 more journalists with access to resources and online training opportunities through the efforts of its fellows. Archives of the WKC seminars are available at WKConline.org.” Source: Knight Digital Media Center

The Media Policy Initiative

November 2, 2011 in Community, Experiments, Policy, Resources

The Media Policy Initiative, part of the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative, formulates policy and regulatory reforms to foster the development of a healthy media that satisfies the needs of democracy in the 21st century. MPI’s fellows and staff research, analyze, and promote policies that are committed to maximizing the public interest potential of innovative media, supported by partnerships with communities, researchers, industry, and public interest groups. By studying the social and economic ramifications of policymaking – particularly on poor, rural, and other underserved constituencies – MPI provides in-depth, objective research, analysis, and findings for policy decisionmakers and the general public.

MPI hired its first batch of fellows in Spring 2010, and its current work centers on the recently published Knight Commission Report Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age.

Building on the report’s findings, in 2010 the MPI staff and fellows focus on policies to invigorate public media, increase independent public interest reporting, and improve citizen access to and engagement with high-quality information. MPI utilizes a broad definition of a community’s information needs, which includes information provided to the public by media, community institutions, and government. By tracking and critiquing policy initiatives at the federal level, as well as innovative media efforts in communities across the country, the Initiative reports on both the successes and failures in this interdisciplinary realm, along with their implications for the Knight Commission’s recommendations.

MPI PRIORITIES & GOALS:

  • Identify and recruit a cross-section of media thinkers and do-ers able to inform the policymaking processes ongoing at the FTC, FCC, and in Congress.
  • Conduct assessments of local media ecosystems as a means of informing the debates in DC with diverse, outside-the-Beltway perspectives.
  • Build research collaborations among academics, media producers, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders.
  • Study the social and economic impacts of the ongoing disruption in media models.
  • Support business, government and social entrepreneurs pursuing pilot projects and proof-of-concept prototypes with data and analysis.
  • Support the development the Fellows many of whom are new to their role as policy entrepreneurs.” Source: New America Foundation

 

PBS MediaShift

November 1, 2011 in Community, Distribution, Experiments, Resources, Technology

Since January 2006, MediaShift has been tracking how social media, weblogs, podcasting, citizen journalism, wikis, news aggregators and online video are changing our media world. MediaShift includes commentary and reporting to tell stories of how the shifting media landscape is changing the way we get our news and information, while also providing a place for public participation and feedback.

MediaShift correspondents help tell the story of how people who are working in traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, music and movies are dealing with digital disruption and adapting their business models for a more mobile, networked world. Not only is this a story of technology, but a story of changing mindset for journalists who must adjust to the increasing power of the “people formerly known as the audience.”

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation provided a grant to MediaShift to produce its sister blog, Idea Lab and to upgrade MediaShift. Since 1950 the foundation has granted more than $300 million to advance journalism quality and freedom of expression. Knight Foundation supports ideas and projects that create transformational change.” Source: PBS MediaShift

Special MediaShift Series: Beyond J-School

[A]nother in-depth special series on MediaShift. This time the series will look at “Beyond J-School,” chronicling how journalism education and training are changing, and how journalists need more than traditional j-school. They need multimedia skills, social media knowledge, community management chops, and must learn to collaborate with their audience. It’s more than just learning the basics of journalism: They also need more background in business, entrepreneurship, technology and even programming. The entire series is linked below. Source: PBS MediaShift

Knight Report: Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age

October 25, 2011 in Community, Distribution, Policy, Resources

In April 2008, recognizing that technology is changing attitudes toward information in fundamental ways, Knight Foundation and the Aspen Institute formed the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy. The purpose of the Commission was to examine the information needs of American communities in the digital age and to suggest recommendations to strengthen the free flow of information.

This report summarizes the findings and recommendations of the Knight Commission. Through public outreach, the commission garnered input from over 1,100 people online. In addition, experts and community members shared insights at public forums, where the commission pondered questions such as:

  • What are the information needs of a community in a democracy?
  • How is technology affecting the information needs of democracy in the United States?
  • What public policy directions would help lead us from where we are today to where we ought to be? Report Partner: This report was produced by the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy.

Report Contents

Knight Commission’s articulation of community information needs and the critical steps necessary to meet them requires pursuing three fundamental objectives:

  • Maximizing the Availability of Relevant and Credible Information to Communities: People need relevant and credible information to be free and self-governing.
  • Enhancing the Capacity of Individuals to Engage with Information: People need tools, skills and understanding to use information effectively.
  • Promoting Public Engagement: To pursue their true interests, people need to be engaged with information and with each other. The commission’s conclusions and recommendations follow each objective. Source: Knight Foundation

 

Exploring a Networked Journalism Collaborative in Philadelphia

October 24, 2011 in Community, Distribution, Resources

J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism just released a report analyzing the media landscape in Philadelphia. The William Penn Foundation commissioned J-Lab to conduct the study of Philadelphia’s media landscape and the state of public affairs reporting and make recommendations for a possible media investment strategy. It is well worth a read.

Some of the key findings:

  • The available news about Philadelphia public affairs issues has dramatically diminished over the last three years by many measures: news hole, air time, story count, key word measurements.
  • People in Philadelphia want more public affairs news than they are now able to get.
  • They don’t think their daily newspapers are as good as the newspapers used to be.
  • They want news that is more connected to their city.
  • People from both the Old Philadelphia, anchored by the city’s union and blue-collar workers, and the New Philadelphia, representing tech-savvy, up-and-coming neighborhoods, want to be involved in helping to generate that news.
  • The city is awash in media and technological assets that can pioneer a new Golden Era of Journalism.
  • There is strong, but guarded, interest in exploring a collaborative journalism venture.
  • A significant number of Philadelphia’s new media outlets have expressed interest in pursuing a collaborative media initiative.
  • Any collaborative news effort must validate and support the fiercely independent mindsets of the city’s new media makers.

The entire report is available here.” Source: Citizen Media Law Project

 

Pew Report: How News Happens

October 24, 2011 in Community, Distribution, Resources, Revenue

Who really reports the news that most people get about their communities? What role do new media, blogs and specialty news sites now play?

How, in other words, does the modern news “ecosystem” of a large American city work? And if newspapers were to die—to the extent that we can infer from the current landscape—what would that imply for what citizens would know and not know about where they live?

The questions are becoming increasingly urgent. As the economic model that has subsidized professional journalism collapses, the number of people gathering news in traditional television, print and radio organizations is shrinking markedly. What, if anything, is taking up that slack?

The answers are a moving target; even trying to figure out how to answer them is a challenge. But a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, which takes a close look at the news ecosystem of one city suggests that while the news landscape has rapidly expanded, most of what the public learns is still overwhelmingly driven by traditional media—particularly newspapers.

The study, which examined all the outlets that produced local news in Baltimore, Md., for one week, surveyed their output and then did a closer examination of six major narratives during the week, finds that much of the “news” people receive contains no original reporting. Fully eight out of ten stories studied simply repeated or repackaged previously published information.” Source: Journalism.org

Linking Audiences to News: A Network Analysis of Chicago Websites

September 16, 2011 in Community, Distribution, Resources

A new report for The Chicago Community Trust analyzes news flows in Chicago and provides a thought-provoking analysis of the city’s emerging news ecosystem and the roles of key information providers and sharers. It also shows the potential power of Web savvy community news start ups and nontraditional information providers as a new news environment takes shape.

This latest report is “Linking Audiences to News – A Network Analysis of Chicago Websites” (pdf) by Rich Gordon, professor of digital media at Medill, and Zachary Johnson, CEO of Syndio Social.

Together with last year’s News That Matters, a survey to determine how news Chicago residents actually define their information needs, the Trust research is a refreshing departure from more traditional research frames that focus on institutional providers of information without fully connecting them to what consumers actually receive and what they say they need.

In the dynamic local news environment, it’s impossible to predict the shape of things to come. But this report clearly signals the emergence of institutional information sources (the local transportation agency, the museum) and micro local news start ups as key players.” SourceMichelle McLellan, Community Information Needs