Sunday, March 19, 2006

More Media Outlets, Less News

Beep beep beep: We are interrupting sports coverage for just a moment ...

I was just reading an article from last Monday's New York Times about how there is "plenty of breadth in [news] coverage, but not much depth." You can find the article here. The article is reporting on a study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism. It's affiliated with Columbia University and financed by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The study found many things that I think we have been noticing lately, but it was a little disturbing to read them in black and white. For example, they randomly chose to study May 11, 2005 and found:

-Google News had access to 14,000 news stories, but all were accounts of just 24 news events.

-On that day, print and evening network news focused on violence in Iraq, an airplane violating restricted air space in D. C., and protests in Afghanistan.

-On the same day, cable tv and morning news programs focused on Michael Jackson's court trial and a murder in Illinois.

-On the same day, local tv and radio focused on weather, traffic, and local crime.

-On the same day, blogs focused on broader, long-term issues (it did not explain which ones.) However, 94% of the blogs' content was not original.

-While cable news was the "shallowest," newspapers covered the most topics, with extensive sourcing, and with the most angles ... however "perhaps in language and sourcing tilted towards elites."

I think we know what news sources Americans use most often. This quote from the study says it all, "Consuming the news continuously does not mean being better informed."

Ok, back to your regularly scheduled Madness.



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