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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 Research Center Report: 72% of Americans follow local news closely

May 3, 2012 in Community, Distribution, Innovation, Resources

Nearly three quarters (72%) of adults are quite attached to following local news and information, and local newspapers are by far the source they rely on for much of the local information they need. In fact, local news enthusiasts are substantially more wedded to their local newspapers than others. They are much more likely than others to say that if their local newspaper vanished, it would have a major impact on their ability to get the local information they want. This is especially true of local news followers age 40 and older, who differ from younger local news enthusiasts in some key ways.

One-third of local news enthusiasts (32%) say it would have a major impact on them if their local newspaper no longer existed, compared with just 19% of those less interested in local news. Most likely to report a major impact if their newspaper disappeared are local news followers age 40 and older (35%), though even among younger local news followers 26% say losing the local paper would have a major impact on them…

These local news and information consumers stand out from other adults in several respects related to community attachment, general interest in all types of news, use of sources for local news and information, and the particular topics of interest to them on the local scene.

As a whole, local news enthusiasts do not stand out from other adults in their use of technology or in the way they use technology to participate in local affairs, such as sending around links or posting comments on websites. However, among local news enthusiasts there are considerable differences in technology use across generations.

These are among the main findings in a nationally representative phone survey of 2,251 adults by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and Internet & American Life Project, produced in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.” Source: Report (pdf)

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

Pew Report: The Search for a New Business Model, How Newspapers Are Faring Trying to Build Digital Revenue

March 11, 2012 in Distribution, Revenue, Technology

A new study, which combines detailed proprietary data from individual newspapers with in-depth interviews at more than a dozen major media companies, finds that the search for a new revenue model to revive the newspaper industry is making only halting progress but that some individual newspapers are faring much better than the industry overall and may provide signs of a path forward.

In general, the shift to replace losses in print ad revenue with new digital revenue is taking longer and proving more difficult than executives want and at the current rate most newspapers continue to contract with alarming speed, according to the study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. Cultural inertia is a major factor. Most papers are not putting significant effort into the new digital revenue categories that, while small now, are expected to provide most the growth in the future. To different degrees, executives predict newsrooms will continue to shrink, more papers will close and many surviving papers will deliver a print edition only a few days a week.

But some papers are performing quite differently than the norm, some much better and some far worse. These variances suggest that the future of newspapers, rather than being determined entirely by sweeping trends, can be significantly affected by company culture and management-even at papers of quite different sizes.” Source: Pew’s Research Center Project for Excellence in Journalism

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

Pew Report: How People Learn About Their Local Community

October 21, 2011 in Distribution, Resources

While local TV news remains the most popular source for local information in America, adults rely on it primarily for just three subjects—weather, breaking news and to a lesser extent traffic. And for all their problems, newspapers (both print and on the web) are the source Americans turn to most for a wider range of information than any other source, according to a new survey out today.

The internet has a strong hold in the local community as well. Web-only outlets are now the key source of information on some key subjects such as education or local business and restaurants. And greater disruption seems to lie ahead. For the 79% of Americans who are online, as well as Americans ages 18-39, the internet ranks as a top source of information for most of the local subjects studied in the survey.

These are among the findings of a new a new study produced by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Pew Internet & American Life Project in partnership with John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The survey looks in a new and detailed way at how people learn about community by breaking down local information into 16 key topic areas. The result is a more nuanced understanding of the role each media plays in a community.” Source: Pew Internet