Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Big News: Shrinking Reportage

Hundreds of cable and radio commentators, and millions of bloggers, can sound off about the news in real time. But the number of old-fashioned fact-gatherers is dwindling, and will almost certainly continue to shrink.

But the decline in the number of reporters, especially at newspapers, means less digging into the affairs of government and business.

By the project's count, the industry has lost more than 3,500 newsroom professionals since 2000, a drop of 7 percent.

The growth has been among outlets such as Google News and Yahoo, which aggregate content from other sources; blogs, on which only 5 percent of posts involved original research; and satellite radio, which serves up news, talk, entertainment and music but little or no original reporting.
This article talks about the changes going on in reporting and news, as we shift from reading the paper and watching the evening news to cable news, internet sites and blogs. The article raises a concern that the new media won't spend as much on reporting, so we will appear to have more choices of what news we watch, but they will all be reporting on the same thing. If this is true, it is of concern.

The article mentions that "only" 5% of blogs posts involved original research. But, I think that kind of misses the bigger picture as there are tons of blogs. I would be interested to see in aggregate how many new original research posts are put on blogs vs. the number of articles that are no longer being written due to old media layoffs. I bet the new system still ends up with more original content.

via Washington Post

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