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Study Finds More News Media Outlets, Covering Less News – New York Times

I have just read an interesting report in the New York Times business section, pointer by Steve Rubel of Micropersuasion. (That’s the great thing about blogging: I would never read the business section of the NYT but here I am doing so — on the day–, because Steve’s link caught my interest.)

The story is about a review conducted by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, and the broad conclusion (according to the NYT) is that there are more media outlets than last year but they are covering less news. (The NYT, presumably deliberately, does not link directly to the report; I have done so immediately above.)

"As part of the review, a special study looked at how a variety of outlets, including newspapers, television, radio and the Internet, covered a single day’s worth of news and concluded that there was enormous repetition and amplification of just two dozen stories. " On a day in May 2005, you could get to 14,000 stories by two Google clicks, but they concerned only 24 events.

Turning to bloggers, the NYT reported that most issues covered were "broader, longer term" rather than breaking news. " ‘Contrary to the charge that the blogosphere is purely parasitic,’ the study said, bloggers raised new issues. But they did almost no original reporting: only 1 percent of the posts that day involved a blogger interviewing someone else and only 5 percent involved some other original work, such as examining documents."

The report looks at seven blogs (including Instapundit and Daily Kos) for the day in May. From the report itself: "By the numbers, the topics bloggers covered were not all that different from the mainstream press.
What differed primarily were the subtopics and the information offered about them. The bloggers talked about some of the same stories as the mainstream press that day, but often in ways that were quite different."

There is lots more to read in the review, but I did like the conclusion that "Blogs may be the one medium we found in our sample that could be described as genuinely operating 24 hours a day." I was also impressed by the variety, speed and individuality of the selected blogs’ coverage of the events that day in May.

(I’ve decided to stop Technorati tagging of posts for a while because it is quite a drag to do it, and I’ve discovered a way to get a tag cloud onto Petrona, which should in theory do the same job only better — will review after a few days.)

Lists, cont.

Frank Wilson of Books, Inq. has posted a nice comment on my post about my Amazon DVD list.

Yes, I know just what he means about lists ;-). One problem I have is that I keep thinking of things to add to them after I’ve finished. The escape velocity needed to create a list in the first place means that I only make them when they are about something I’m really interested in, and then it is hard to limit them to 10 items (or 25, in the case of the Amazon software).

But my Amazon DVD list is possibly at least useful in recommending some movies to rent that I at least have enjoyed, given today’s Hollywood output is criticised for being substandard (on the whole, there are always a few gems). Of course it misses out great movies that aren’t now available, eg Charlie Bubbles. And some that I’ve remembered since, eg Sunday Bloody Sunday.

Some lists I see seem a bit like "vanity publishing" to me, as bloggers send them to each other and put in their own answers. If you like reading lists, I highly recommend Bonnie Calhoun’s site Bonnie Writes. It’s a great site: she’s very funny and wise. One laugh-aloud example of a list of hers concerns National Girlfriend and Sisters’ Week. Love it!

However, on looking at my DVD list again, I realise that apart from the magnificent Lord of the Rings, almost all of the 25 items on it are 15 years old or more, reflecting my "before and after" life (children, that is). Maybe a lot of these movies have dated now. I’ve bought several of them cheap on the wonderful Amazon over the past couple of years, with the goal of watching them again "when I have time" (ha ha). I did this, in fact, the other week when by coinicdence both daughters were out in the evening and so I could see a movie I wouldn’t want them to. So I re-watched "Sea of Love". And really enjoyed it again! The denoument is OK, someone wrote a script, the acting and direction are good — etc. Recommended to pass a pleasant hour and a half, if you like the genre — as I do (crime thriller, with NY to add the icing ) — though, given what I have written earlier in this paragraph, set in the 1980s 😉 .

Some lists that I have thought about making but never got around to.

First, guys with beards. I am a big fan of a "certain type" of beard (don’t know what to call them but I know what I mean). I got as far as Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen in his Lord of the Rings persona), Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp in his Pirates of the Carribean persona), Ken Sampson (a lovely guy who used to do Nature’s typsetting years ago), Frank Wilson of Books, Inq. (;-) ) and then I ran out of subjects. I’ll probably remember or notice a few more if I put my mind to it but it isn’t that high on my priority list.

The other list I dreamed up was "Things you’d never dream of doing before you had children but afterwards do as a matter of course." I don’t mean things you actually do for your children that you didn’t do before, eg live in the suburbs, I mean things you just find yourself doing that you never would have done before.

Heat up cold tea/coffee in the microwave
Use a dishwashing machine
Buy yoghurts and actually eat them
Pay all your utility (ie non-fixed) bills by direct debit
See movies only on video or DVD
Eat leftover, congealed baked beans and enjoy it (I have never actually done this one but I have seen my brother-in-law do it)

Jenny D said…

The beard list is a funny one, I want to see you do a long and more obsessive version of it!; the "before/after children" interesting, I feel compelled to note that though I have no children I have in the past year (a) heated up cold coffee in the microwave (b) paid bills by direct debit and also (c) eaten the yogurts I’ve bought. (No baked beans, no dishwasher.) The third one just may be perverse, but (a) and (b) are functions of technological change (yes, I know normal people got a microwave a million years ago, but I’m only now this year subletting a place with one) and might be entirely non-child-related….

11:40 PM

Frank Wilson said…

I had actually missed this, Maxine, but thanks for the compliment – especially the company I’m in!

3:32 AM