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The Net's Effect on Journalism 149

Posted by Zonk
from the no-not-that-way-the-other-way dept.
An Associated Press article about the impact of the internet on journalism has a few interesting findings. A few years ago, it was expected that the internet would democratize news coverage. While print media is being rapidly reborn online, web-based news appears to be constraining the number of conversations instead of expanding them. "The news agenda actually seems to be narrowing, with many Web sites primarily packaging news that is produced elsewhere, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism's annual State of the News Media report. Two stories - the war in Iraq and the 2008 presidential election campaign - represented more than a quarter of the stories in newspapers, on television and online last year, the project found. Take away Iraq, Iran and Pakistan, and news from all of the other countries in the world combined filled up less than 6 percent of the American news hole, the project said."
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The Net's Effect on Journalism

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  • huh (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Chicken04GTO (957041)
    take away the subjects people care most about and theres not much left. huh. thats amazing.
    what a surprise.
    • So the AP has a story about how bad blogs are for the news after being fact-checked into tthe dirt for the last few years with bizarre buzzword filtering, fauxtography scandals, and outright paying terrorists for "news".



      I am shocked... *shocked* that their coverage of blogs runs negative.
  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) on Monday March 17, 2008 @08:17AM (#22772026)
    Two stories - the war in Iraq and the 2008 presidential election campaign - represented more than a quarter of the stories in newspapers, on television and online last year, the project found.

    You know, it might be possible that these topics dominate the news so because they are the most important issues we currently face. Making the claim that the Net is "narrowing" the news agenda based upon this is disingenuous.
    • by Zelos (1050172) on Monday March 17, 2008 @08:28AM (#22772102)
      I spent a couple of weeks on a business trip in the US in January - the saturation coverage of the presidential primaries was over the top IMHO. It's not like it's even an election, it's a pre-election. I noticed that there was virtually no mention of (for example) the massive violence going on in Kenya at the time over their elections.
      • by DrLang21 (900992)
        You havn't seen anything yet. Just wait until we get the general election. You might as well just turn off the radio and TV and go read a good book.
        • You might as well just turn off the radio and TV and go read a good book.
          That should have been done in the first place don't you think? If more people read books instead of watching TV we probably wouldn't have a single one of the current likely candidates as options. Careful with the books though, they often make Libertarians out of conservatives and socialists out of those nutty liberals.
          • by DrLang21 (900992)
            Yes they should. However, books do not serve as a sufficient news source.

            Careful with the books though, they often make Libertarians out of conservatives and socialists out of those nutty liberals.
            This is a result of trying to use books as a replacement for news. People need to be reading history, philosophy, and good fiction; not modern political commentary that is far too often nothing but an excersize in rhetoric.
            • Agreed, modern political commentary is not what people should be reading. I did not mean to suggest replacing news with books. As you pointed out that would leave a serious hole in their understanding of the world as they wouldn't know anything about current events ;)

              Instead I was suggesting that books can present the foundations for the various beliefs we have around to globe in everything from religion to economic theories. I think we are on the same page here so I wont try to argue any points. I will s
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sjs132 (631745)
        "YOU only see what THEY want you to see..." "Consume"

        Hasn't everyone figured this out yet? Not being funny. Quite serious. If you want the "NEWS" don't rely on just one source, and usually look for various "opinions" to get the full story.

        The reference is from some hokey alien movie with an ex-wrestler... the truth is more scary because the aliens are not real, they are the elitest ruling class on both sides of the political spectrum and they will use each other and media outlets to keep you keeping you
        • by dyefade (735994)
          Film was called "They Live".

          Mod parent up. Consume.
        • Consume. Exactly.

          Keep the monkey interested and the monkey will continue to buy the nut advertised to him in the advertising breaks. Challenge the monkey to think and he'll think more, sit down less, and consume less nuts, therefore why should the media companies seek out to confuse the monkey?

          That TV is an opiate has never been broadly enough recognised, an opiate pushing the thought of the ruling media classes and funded political classes.
        • by jav1231 (539129)
          Exactly! Why do you think the "big media" has been so up in arms about blogging and podcasting? This is why I don't get too upset about the war in Iraq. I don't trust the media's coverage of it. You hear soldiers coming back and saying, "This is nothing like we see over there!" And so much other "media" coverage is just like that. How dare the vast unwashed start actually reporting what they really see!? Maybe because we constitute more eyes and ears than the media? Maybe because we're tired of being told t
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by CrackedButter (646746)
        At least with all this attention on politics we don't know what Britney and Paris are up too hey?
      • by nametaken (610866)
        You're right, I know more about the Democratic primaries than I'm at all interested in knowing... but had no idea about Kenya.

        I think the truth is, one closely resembles "reality" TV and the Paris Hilton obsession Americans can't get enough of. Nobody seems to be interested in the politics any more than to use it as a way of framing yet another TV show contest. Our elections are a perfect justification for another contest TV show that all the networks get to capitalize on at the same time.
      • by Atario (673917)
        People here are beyond ready for the next president to replace the current one. That's why the campaigning started around December of 2006.
      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        "I noticed that there was virtually no mention of (for example) the massive violence going on in Kenya at the time over their elections."

        Well, to be fair...it isn't like anything going on over there effects us over here.

    • by Project2501a (801271) on Monday March 17, 2008 @08:34AM (#22772140) Homepage Journal
      > You know, it might be possible that these topics dominate
      > the news so because they are the most important issues we
      > currently face.

      It might also be that there's a huge propaganda effort going on. Remember what Noam Chomksy said about the Propaganda model [wikipedia.org] in his 1998 "Manufacturing Concent":

      Presenting an analysis its authors call the "propaganda model", the book argues that since mass media news outlets are now run by large corporations, they are under the same competitive pressures as other corporations. According to the book, the pressure to create a stable, profitable business invariably distorts the kinds of news items reported, as well as the manner and emphasis in which they are reported. This occurs not as a result of conscious design but simply as a consequence of market selection: those businesses who happen to favor profits over news quality survive, while those that present a more accurate picture of the world tend to become marginalized.
      • by gigahawk (745812)
        It's an obvious false dilemma that quality news and profits cannot coexist. People who want to destroy private industry always make the claim that profit undermines quality, as if consumers don't want quality. That simply isn't true. Before someone comes in and talks about the 'stupid consumer', the trade off between price and quality varies greatly up and down the scale for every product, including news. Your anecdotal experience with some stupid people you know is not evidence that every consumer doesn't
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Hatta (162192)
          It's an obvious false dilemma that quality news and profits cannot coexist.

          Why is that obvious? Isn't the state of the media today proof enough? If market pressures aren't the driving force behind this vapid propagandistic state of the media, what is?
        • by Bent Mind (853241) on Monday March 17, 2008 @01:20PM (#22774852)

          Before someone comes in and talks about the 'stupid consumer',...
          I can think of a few reasons why the readership wouldn't care about the news quality, without calling anyone stupid. The first one off the top of my head is that they don't recognize it as low quality. Without a direct effect, the reader only knows what they are told.

          People who want to destroy private industry always make the claim that profit undermines quality, as if consumers don't want quality.
          Who is the customer? Who paid for the publication? Most news services use an advertising-based model. The customer is the business paying for the advertising. Now, you can argue that ad-space is worthless without readership. However, from the reader's point of view, the publication is free. Therefore, reduced quality is acceptable. It only becomes unacceptable when news that directly impacts a large portion of the readership isn't reported.
      • by amplt1337 (707922)
        Exactly! ...but now cue some libertarian to come in here and say that if something like that ever actually happened, obviously Market Competition would cause a new, truth-telling, diverse-story-reporting media conglomerate empire to spring into existence...
        • by Metrol (147060)
          I believe the term coined for this is the "Internet". Truth and lies can be found in abundance throughout. Buyer beware!
    • In fact (Score:5, Interesting)

      by WindBourne (631190) on Monday March 17, 2008 @08:56AM (#22772262) Journal
      I see more about off beat information from the net than I do from the main stream media. Shoots, Sibel Edmunds has offered to spill all that she knows about corruption in the gov. IFF they will do a live show. Upon doing that show, she will be arrested. In fact, probably during the show. The main stream news media will not touch it. The net is begging for it. In fact, some of the best stuff coming up is from the net and being picked up by the british press.

      All in all, I believe that the net is doing the work that mainstream is no longer doing. Of course, the vast majority of Americans are sick of worthless news.
    • by mike2R (721965) on Monday March 17, 2008 @09:14AM (#22772384)
      Right, and it's not like the load of special interest web sites have shut up shop or anything, they're still there writing about their niche.

      There isn't any secret that the web has lead to a deluge of crap sites, or thousands of sites all writing about the same topics. But to say that because of this there is no alternative news is misinterpreting the numbers - an extra ten thousand cookie cutter sites doesn't mean there are any less unique ones, it just means that the signal to noise ratio has got worse.
      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        There isn't any secret that the web has lead to a deluge of crap sites, or thousands of sites all writing about the same topics.

        Does anyone else see the irony of reading an article written by an AP Television Writer, rehosted on Wired, about this topic?

        If you want to cut away the repetitive news, just ignore all the Reuters, AP, and UPI news articles or articles derived from them. Go through your biggest 'local' newspaper and X out all the articles which those agencies wrote or "contributed to"... Or just pick up a national paper and do it. Either way, it'll be informative.

    • The only thing that makes any sense is that world news gets low ratings, and therefore gets shoved aside or canceled. News is all about ratings now, since ratings mean more money for the commercials. The real question is why do bullshit stories like cats stuck in trees, Paris Hilton, etc matter more to Americans than world news? The other thing to keep in mind is that if there is no video of something, it doesn't exist as far as the 24/7 news networks are concerned.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cayenne8 (626475)
        "The only thing that makes any sense is that world news gets low ratings, and therefore gets shoved aside or canceled. News is all about ratings now, since ratings mean more money for the commercials. The real question is why do bullshit stories like cats stuck in trees, Paris Hilton, etc matter more to Americans than world news? The other thing to keep in mind is that if there is no video of something, it doesn't exist as far as the 24/7 news networks are concerned."

        Well, this is nothing new really. The

    • Let me forecast the news for the coming week: Bin Laden parties in West Pakistan. The U.S.Economy Craters, again, and deeper. Globalization: Warren Buffet buys cloned T-Rex instead of a lap-dog. More lead found on Chinese products than Jacque Cousteau's weight belt. Senators McCain, Obamma, and Clinton; Who enjoys being on top?

      If newspapers do not change their business model that draws readers, they are going to go the way of the Town Crier, and Cave Paintings.
    • by SebaSOFT (859957)
      WAKE UP citizens of the United States. America is a continent and you got a lot of water running under your bridge without knowing it. The News covert in the US is astonishing, your government is putting you in a news jail. I was in the US 3 times now, and It was way hard to get even a TV report on something besides US related news. I'm not surprised why a lot of US citizens never go outside it's country. What are you afraid of?
    • by Azghoul (25786)
      It's not the Net's fault that journalists are inherently lazy. It's too easy for them to just cut/paste from some other original work rather than do their own.

      Even at the level of the local sports reporters, much of what they seem to "report" is based on stuff found trolling fan boards. I see it all the time (Hi Bucky Gleason, you lazy unoriginal son of a bi...).
      • by adona1 (1078711)
        Agreed. I've noticed that the quality of mainstream journalism seems to be decreasing fast, as they regurgitate whatever someone else has already written without factchecking, or else just lack basic grammar and writing skills.

        As for the democratisation of journalism with blogging et al, that's a bit of a joke anyway. The majority of blogging regarding news is either voicing opinion without analysis or else just posting links to other people's writing. When bloggers do get it right, such as exposing lies
    • by Smidge204 (605297)

      You know, it might be possible that these topics dominate the news so because they are the most important issues we currently face.

      Kindly explain how Eliot Spitzer hiring a pricey escort is among "the most important issues we currently face."

      That's just a recent example. "News" today is not about highlighting what's "important" in the sense we'd all like to think, but about ratings and mindshare. It's about making money. Modern journalism is about milking sensationalist topics for all they're worth. The only place you'll find an unpopular story is in an unpopular news source - exactly because they run unpopular stories.

      If the war got

    • Two stories - the war in Iraq and the 2008 presidential election campaign - represented more than a quarter of the stories in newspapers, on television and online last year, the project found.

      You know, it might be possible that these topics dominate the news so because they are the most important issues we currently face. Making the claim that the Net is "narrowing" the news agenda based upon this is disingenuous.

      When I read the summary I thought there may be an economics argument there. While you may be right, these stories are covered because they're important, it could also be the case, just from a mathematical/economics pov that more outlets engender less diversity.

      For example, could it be that with fixed dollars to be made in the news reporting business but vastly more reporting outlets (some reporting w/o expectation of making any money) that as soon as one story appears to get a critical mass of attention th

  • Why Democratize? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by abscissa (136568) on Monday March 17, 2008 @08:19AM (#22772040)
    Why should we "democratize" news coverage? If you had a health problem, would you want even the most uninformed voting on your diagnosis, or would you rather see a top specialist working with advanced knowledge and experience?

    I am so fucking sick of this belief on digg etc. that "the people" are finally taking back the web.
    • by mikelu (120879) on Monday March 17, 2008 @09:06AM (#22772324)
      Democratize is the wrong word - what they mean is news coverage akin to the Greek jury model: the number of news sources becomes so large that bribing or intimidating enough of them to have an effect becomes staggeringly difficult.
      • Re:Why Democratize? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jbn-o (555068) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Monday March 17, 2008 @02:02PM (#22775354) Homepage

        Then how do you explain the huge failure (failure from the public's perspective not the business perspective) of the mainstream media coverage on the invasion and occupation of Iraq (failures which persist to this day) and the continued narrowing of debate on health care, both of which are incredibly important issues of the day? The failure to adequately report on the war is all too evident (particularly today as the mainstream media ignores an important weekend war panel where soldiers were speaking out); Jeff Greenfield's "analysis" is an example of the failure to convey what Americans want in health care [counterpunch.org]. The McNeil-Lehrer News Hour tried a similar scam [fair.org] years ago with Dr. Steffi Woolhandler when she spoke about single-payer universal health care (if you have access to Lexis-Nexis you can probably get a complete transcript of the charade). There aren't that many news sources, the media ownership is shrinking and they're all multinational corporations with largely compatible ends. Not that you accused anyone of saying so, but one apparently doesn't need any smoke-filled room conspiracy to get them to behave in such a way that they all profoundly misreport. Chomsky's analysis of this (quoted elsewhere in this /. discussion) seems far more accurate to me.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      In a way we are "democratizing the news." But it's mostly in a very limited way. The net and its denizens are MUCH better at following and disseminating tech-related stories for example (like right here on /.). You'll find coverage of stuff like net neutrality, domestic spying tech, etc. that's much better than any conventional news source. Unfortunately, the net is not nearly as good at following more conventional news stories (standard political fare, sports, local news, etc.). Those areas are still best
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rtb61 (674572)
        The real reason for the same stories in the main stream news web sites, is simply greed, news as a cost being used to sell adds. You don't really have all that many journalists, let alone reporters, all you have are copy and pasters taking in news from several main sources and cut and pasting it together in the cheapest way possible in order to be able to sell a range of adds.

        It helps if the news is kept mild, and safe so as not to offend readers or advertisers.

        The news is not being democratised, public

    • by 404 Clue Not Found (763556) * on Monday March 17, 2008 @09:31AM (#22772540)
      Because an informed populace is a necessary part of a working democracy. News is part of that information process. Unfortunately, we've seen a failure of the mainstream press in recent years to maintain their duties as the "Fourth Estate" in events like the leadup to war. When people don't bother to look past the shallow information force-fed to them, they become susceptible to the failings of modern corporate journalism, e.g. sensationalism, biases, unequal reporting, etc. A select few get to tell the rest of us what to think or even just what to think about, which would be fine in a perfect world with perfect journalists, but obviously that doesn't always work out so well in real life.

      This may be especially important in the US, where so many media outlets are owned by just a few giant conglomerates; opposing or unpopular viewpoints may not be readily available and "citizen on the street" reporting/grassroots awareness raising may be the only shot at fame that marginalized people/events/stories receive.

      Democratized news can co-exist with the mainstream press. Professional journalists, by virtue of training, experience, access, organizational protections (e.g. expensive lawyers) and other non-readily-available resources, will likely still outreport the average Joe Digger or Wikinews editor -- the same way your average politician is better prepared to participate in the political process. Joe Digger, however, still serves important roles: At minimum, he can present a popularist perspective unbiased by corporate policies/advertiser pressure/censorship/the need for viewership; and on the (hopefully) rare occasion when the mainstream press just completely fucks up on an issue, Joe Digger can call them out on it.

      It's just a way of putting power back in the hands of the people, and that's exactly where it belongs because the people are supposed the ultimate check and balance for any civil institution (which is something the media has become).

      <rant>
      Now, even if that all sounds good in theory, whether the people can be actually be trusted to do this kind of reporting responsibly and usefully is an entirely different question. If our political process is any indication, the majority won't even participate. And among those who do participate... well, let's just say that the information we want often seems to be somewhat different from the information we need. "Entertainment as news" is already an issue, and it will only worsen once we give the reporting duties to your average apathetic American with a 30-second attention span and a preference for pop over politics. Without a drastic lifestyle and thinking style change of some sort, more fluff is all we're gonna get. Maybe democracy, as a whole, really is the belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance/intellectual laziness.

      But that's another rant. I've pontificated enough for one post.
      </rant>
      • by HiThere (15173)
        Of course you can't trust the people to report honestly. But you ***** sure can't trust the professional news people. They'll say whatever the company line is. And they reprocess what they report so that you can't recognize it. I've been present at a couple of events that I later saw news coverage of. They *did* happen ... but the news was so reprocessed that I had a hard time recognizing them. And this was just done by carefully selected camera angles and by cutting out anything that wasn't "interest
    • by kellyb9 (954229)
      I agree, but when I look at sites like Digg, I think of them more as oversight for the major news media. Kind of the same way the government has various checks and balances (or at least should), the media can now be put in place by popular internet sites like Digg.
    • Why should we "democratize" news coverage? If you had a health problem, would you want even the most uninformed voting on your diagnosis, or would you rather see a top specialist working with advanced knowledge and experience?

      I'd like to see the specialist.

      But I see your point how personal decisions in health care are EXACTLY THE SAME THING as the "democratizing" of news media. [/sarcasm]

  • 'American news hole'

    You read it 'hear' first!

    • Re:Exactly (Score:5, Informative)

      by IBBoard (1128019) on Monday March 17, 2008 @08:27AM (#22772090) Homepage
      No, it's right, the American 'news' is a big hole that anything from outside disappears in to without a trace!

      I was actually surprised at how little external news the US seems to get. I stayed in Colorado a couple of Christmases ago and the only way to get any form of news about the outside world was the BBC World Service. Yes, it's a big nation with a lot of its own news, but here in the UK we get news about the Middle East, Europe, politics, America, the Tsunami, Australia becoming America's lap dog (although nothing about us doing the same first), etc, so we know there's an outside world and that stuff happens in it.
      • by cyberbian (897119)
        Oh! I thought it was about 'Same S%!t Different Day'...
        That's what comes out of the hole at any rate...
        I agree. The 'Beeb' has been providing me with news for years and great shows too!
      • Sometimes we don't even get news about what's going on *here*. I had a friend who was traveling abroad in 1992. He was watching CNN International and observed a story about the possibility that California might secede from the union over unfunded federal mandates.

        He had brought this up in conversation because I had told him about finding legislation in the California legislature that would hold federal taxes in escrow pending a review of federal mandates. If there were too many mandates, California would
  • I read an interesting story on http://slashdot.org/articles/08/03/17/0649200.shtml [slashdot.org]this very subject.
  • 1) Listen to Web pundits make predictions about anything.
    2) Bet your money on the EXACT OPPOSITE.
    3) Wait a few years
    4) Profit!

    Please show me the flaw in my plan.
  • What I see... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Notquitecajun (1073646) on Monday March 17, 2008 @08:33AM (#22772130)
    I'm seeing a gravitation of most news efforts towards what everyone cares about (we're seeing more economic news, btw) from news organizations on the extremes (pick your favorite kook and conspiracy website) and mainstream media. It's a bit of a stating the obvious, but everyone wants to break news - no matter what the source, report on something, and state an opinion.

    What we are ALSO seeing - which TFA doesn't comment much on - is the watchdog nature of the internet and how EVERYTHING gets fact-checked, particularly major news items. It led to the downfall of Dan Rather, who assumed everyone would believe him (and may actually have had a credible story) and had such a hot line that he forgot he was a journalist. John Kerry's "swiftboating" was the opposite - he has never been able to effectively disprove claims, despite everything at his disposal.

    BTW, as an aside, I'm a history guy, and never liked journalism's tendencies to ignore history and leave conflicting facts out of stories.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by blahplusplus (757119)
      "BTW, as an aside, I'm a history guy, and never liked journalism's tendencies to ignore history and leave conflicting facts out of stories."

      As a history guy you probably know that status and class bias is rampant and that censorship happens in academia and especially in "prestige" jobs or unsavor histories of countries that want to promote certain economic idealogies. In canada you won't see stuff like the bolshevik revolution taught in history courses in public or highschools for instance. Nor about em
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        i.e. people with PHD's believing they could 'shock' their mentally ill patients and "cure" them

        I was under the impression that electroshock therapy actually does work in certain cases where all else fails. This pubmed abstract [nih.gov] seems to support that case.
      • by turing_m (1030530)
        "eugenics came from the most educated of classes, it certainly didn't come from the bottom. And at the time it was hopelessly naive, there needs to be a check on human ignorance at all levels."

        Eugenics works... do you think the Chihuahua, the Shire horse or the various highly intelligent breeds of sheepdog just happened to come into existence by themselves? Eugenics for various traits with humans has happened for a long time too. From aboriginal coming of age rituals to Judaism to ancient Sparta, selective
        • "Eugenics works... do you think the Chihuahua, ..."

          Which is totally irrelevent to what I was speaking about, think about what the educated classes behaviour, not about the idea itself. How it was used to violate peoples rights, etc. They thought they were 'doing the right thing' and being 'compassionate'. I'm not against eugenics (human improvement) but to think most people then had a handle on improving humanity is quite naive given scientists still don't know what causes autism for example. There plen
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by amplt1337 (707922)
      See, the problem here is that the press is increasingly talking only to itself. That's why each of the cable news channels is running the same filler over and over -- "Quick, CNN's covering that story, get me video of that now!" etc.

      And politicans have figured out how to play this echo chamber to turn the media into a propaganda tool. Dan Rather is an excellent point -- he went forward with a story that was actually true, and the spin folks at Fox managed to get him fired over the fact that they used the
  • I'm an American and I also go to BBC (Firefox so nicely puts the feed in the default installation), The Economist, Al Jazeera (English version), and some others. The AP, Wall Street Journal and CNN have become too provincial for me...or I'm becoming more worldly (Yeah, right).
    • by odoketa (1040340)
      Exactly. While the US media (and the UK media, and etc.) may be regionally petrifying, we now have the option to go to other regions virtually. I use the BBC as my primary news source, and Le Monde for stories the BBC does a bad job with. Add in the New York Times and a twist of Al Jazeera and you have a relatively broad coverage.
  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Monday March 17, 2008 @08:40AM (#22772184) Homepage Journal

    That's the problem with mainstream media. They are so used to summarizing stories for us little people that they seldom give links to the material they use in their stories. It would be nice to be able to independently corroborate Wired's assessment of the paper, wouldn't it? A paper written by industry people is summarized for us by industry people. Forgive me for being a bit skeptical.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cat_jesus (525334)
      That's not the only problem with mainstream media. They're lazy and they have an addiction to live video feeds. About a week ago I was watching CNN and President Clinton was on, explaining in layman's terms how Bush's economic policies have hurt America. In the middle of his explanation CNN cuts away to show a live feed of some ridiculous BS. I couldn't believe it. Here was a former president providing some valuable information in a form that was easier to understand and they just blew him off for crap that
      • These politicians and their agents can say all sorts of misleading or incorrect statements and they aren't called on it by the reporters. I don't know if it's because the reporters and pundits are too dumb, too scared or too enamored with politicians.

        It's simple. Piss off the politician and/or spokesperson, and they'll never be on your show again. So then you lose an opportunity to make money off them.

        Keep them happy, by lobbing softballs questions, and you'll get all the exlusive interviews you can han

      • by Carewolf (581105)
        You can't do fact checking anymore because "believing in facts" have become an opinion, and journalists who question opinions are considered biased. See Creationism, The war on terror and Reagan economics for classic examples.
  • I am probably one of the few slashdot readers who has worked as a foreign correspondent for a newspaper. I worked for Nevski Novosti in St. Petersburg Russia for a year. Doing good journalism takes time to develop sources and money to support said process. In the quarterly-profit world of corporate media, there is no time for delayed gratification. Therefore, we get endless stories about Britney and other celeb trash news.
    • I haven't been a foreign correspondent, but am a professional photojournalist often working in Mexico on longer-term stories.

      I wholly agree that part of the problem is the instant gratification, but the newspapers play into that. If I want to know if my favorite sports team won, I'm not going to wait until tomorrow's paper to find out. Likewise, when I read tomorrow's paper, I couldn't give less of a shit about a small car accident that happened yesterday. It either affected my day (in which case a fo

  • Well DUH (Score:3, Informative)

    by sm62704 (957197) on Monday March 17, 2008 @08:59AM (#22772278) Journal
    An Associated Press article

    The AP reporting on journalism, and we're supposed to believe they're unbiased and objective?

    "The news agenda actually seems to be narrowing, with many Web sites primarily packaging news that is produced elsewhere"

    1997 called and it wants its blogs back. Where has AP been for the last fifteen years? Uning their trusty old Underwoods?

    Two stories - the war in Iraq and the 2008 presidential election campaign - represented more than a quarter of the stories in newspapers, on television and online last year, the project found. Take away Iraq, Iran and Pakistan, and news from all of the other countries in the world combined filled up less than 6 percent of the American news hole, the project said."

    What planet are these people from, anyway? If it doesn't affect me, it's gossip rather than news (and that includes Britney Spears). Were Friday's Tornados in the UK's Guardian? Of course not (and of course I probably picked a bad example and someone will link a Guardian story about it). Local news is the most important, followed by regional news, followed by your country's news, THEN world news - if there's room.
    • by xaxa (988988)

      What planet are these people from, anyway? If it doesn't affect me, it's gossip rather than news (and that includes Britney Spears). Were Friday's Tornados in the UK's Guardian? Of course not (and of course I probably picked a bad example and someone will link a Guardian story about it). Local news is the most important, followed by regional news, followed by your country's news, THEN world news - if there's room.

      I may as well get there first: Atlanta Examines Tornado Damage [guardian.co.uk].

      I'm not sure if that's in the printed paper, if I remember I'll have a look later today. It won't be in the front though, at most I'd expect a small column somewhere in the World section.

      • by sm62704 (957197)
        Yeah, loke I said... how about Clown known as Klutzo gets new name [sj-r.com] (There was another clown named Klutzo [slashdot.org] who was arrested for molesting children and then died in jail when a fat jailer sat on hime, links to news items in the linked journal). Or more newsworthy, Taylorville deaths possibly a murder-suicide [sj-r.com]. How many peopl outside Chicago (that don't read the Chicago newspapers) know about he drunken off-duty cop that beat a small woman bartender senseless, and the other bad cops in Chicago that make me want
        • by xaxa (988988)
          Neither were reported outside Illinois: http://news.google.co.uk/news?q=Klutzo+clown [google.co.uk] -- but as you say, it's very local.

          The location search on Google News doesn't seem very good, unfortunately: http://news.google.co.uk/news?q=tornado+location:uk&scoring=n [google.co.uk] I can see the story on the BBC News site, and Google News returns it with an advanced search just for BBC News, but it should really be on the UK results page (I tried 'England' 'Britain' 'United Kingdom' 'London' but nothing returned the BBC result).

          C
          • by sm62704 (957197)
            Completely unrelated, but there's a clown^H^H^Hpolitician in London, and he wants to be mayor. The Times [timesonline.co.uk] says "It's always been difficult to imagine Boris running anything more complicated than a bath" which is pretty accurate...

            You're lucky, he only wants to be Mayor. Look at the buffoon running my whole country!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PineGreen (446635)
      Local news is the most important, followed by regional news, followed by your country's news, THEN world news - if there's room.

      With all due respect: maybe that explains why America is so recklessly fucking up all the wars they try to wage. A little bit of wider perspective is useful every now and then.
      • by sm62704 (957197)
        Well, you're right. What the biggest problem is, is that the media talk of singers and sports stars and actors when they should be reporting on politicians and what those asshats are doing. I couldn't possibly care less whether or not some baseball player is on crack or steroids.

        But why should I worry about some British politician's sex scandals? It's not like I can much affect anything that happens in British politics. If one of their politicians rattles sabers at the US then it would be newsworthy. If one
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by fremsley471 (792813)
      Were Friday's Tornados in the UK's Guardian? Of course not (and of course I probably picked a bad example and someone will link a Guardian story about it).

      What's more pertinent, that you expected the Guardian not to have the story, or the fact that it did?

    • by Zelos (1050172)
      That is a very short-sighted point of view. Firstly, are you not curious about what's going on in the rest of the world? Elections in Russia, riots in Burma, pollution in China, Tibetan oppression - these are interesting stories, never mind the fact that they affect the lives of millions of other humans.

      Secondly, the world news that you would ignore today can have a huge effect in future (I'm sure you can think of at least one example of that).

      Thirdly, knowledge of news from around the world gives you conte
      • by sm62704 (957197)
        I can't disagree with anything you are saying, but if a house burns down and you know the people who live there, it has a far greater impact than one burning down on the other side of the world.

        Some people think Britney Spears drug problem is interesting, so now I can hardly open a newspaper without seeing "news" about Britney Spears' custody fight and drug problem, despite the fact that I've never met the overpriced slut and likely never will. It's the worst sort of gossip.

        News of your Prime Minister does,
  • Most news Web sites are no longer final destinations. The report found that many users insist that the sites, and even individual pages, offer plenty of options to navigate elsewhere for more information, the project found. Rosenstiel said he's even able to reach Washington Post stories through the New York Times' Web site.

    What I can say... WOW! These people discovered how "teh internets" works. Makes me wonder what they will say once they find out about "web 2.0".

    Although at these rates, it will not probably happen before 2020 or so.

  • by dogzilla (83896)
    Our media is dying because people don't trust it. It's not rocket science. The media's role (or lack thereof) during the two terms of the Bush administration is just the last straw in a process that's been going on in this country for a while. I don't claim to know the mechanism behind it, but the visible result is the transformation of our media from a "4th Estate" to a propaganda mouthpiece for the state not unlike what one sees in countries that have state-controlled media. I'm lucky enough to be reasona
    • Our media is dying because people don't trust it.

      Care to back that up?

      I don't trust mainstream media. You obviously don't either. My 60-year-old father, though, certainly does. And, as a 23-year-old college student in the honors program (i.e. I'm surrounded by the supposed cream of the crop of my peers), the vast majority of them don't seem to have any real issues with the mainstream media. At best, some of them prefer CNN and dislike Faux News.

      What's that mean? Nothing, really, it's totally anecdotal. But so is your argument.

      Newspapers are failing becau

  • It's what's being read.

    If only one online web site carried a story about starving children in XYZland, but 10 million pairs of eyeballs saw it and paid attention to it, that's a lot more significant than a story about a battle in Iraq that hit every news aggregator on the planet but got universally ignored by readers.
  • The only American *NEWS* outlets they mention are the same old same old sources. I don't even read those sources anymore cause they don't have any news I'm interested in. I check my Google News home page once in the morning each day to see if anything interesting pops out but other than that I go straight to New Scientist, Science Daily, /., Macrumors, TreeHugger, and a few blogs that have topics I care about.

    There's very little that happens day to day in the world that I consider a new event. The protests
  • I'm glad to see that amateur journalism is still going strong, check out this report about someone who was recently in the news for finding a 3+ carat diamond in Arkansas.

    http://fakeminerals.com/ [fakeminerals.com]

    None of the major news stories would have thought about digging into this story, but an amaetur sleuth did.

    Jolyon
  • by LS (57954) on Monday March 17, 2008 @10:43AM (#22773166) Homepage
    Let's not forget how most people got their news before the popularization of the internet. The average person had read a newspaper or two, had a subscription to a magazine or two, and watched mainstream news on a few television channels. The average person had little access to foreign media unless they put effort to find it. These mediums were all broadcast style, with virtually no feedback to the source. They were virtually all controlled by large corporations.

    I submit that the condition of dialog in US and maybe the world would be MUCH worse than it is now if the internet didn't exist, and the advent of its popularization is grossly underrated in the effect it has had on society. We have a population that regularly and instantly interacts with foreign nationals, hears and expresses opinions opposing the standard line fed by mainstream media outlets, accesses articles and information in quantities and variation vastly beyond the past, and has the capability to organize efforts around issues that would have never been exposed by the powers that be. We might cowering under a state of martial law at this point if the critical mass of voices weren't heard opposing the current administration's policies.

    While there is still a place for journalistic principles and rigorous training in the discipline, the majority of "journalism" that people were exposed to before the internet hardly made an attempt to meet that standard. Anyone can and should be a journalist, even if it simply means having a cell-phone camera at the right place and right time.

    LS
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PotatoHead (12771)
      Sure, there is a ton of meta-garbage out there, but there is also a lot of really great commentary and fact checking.

      I think you are spot on, in that your statements match my experience.

      This current administration has tested my political awareness to an extent I didn't think was possible. It took going to the net and reading, and more importantly, HAVING CONVERSATIONS, to ferret out the reality of things.

      The net, being a two way medium really changes the game. It's pretty easy to just consume the traditio
  • ... film at 11.

    I'd like to point out that it is the American News Media that has focused to an absurd extent on these two topics. This in turn is driven by what the News Media Corporations believe will be watched or read by Americans. As much as people bitch about MSM and right-wing bias and left-wing bias, face it folks - the News Conglomerates are feeding the public what the public wants. This is the beauty of the capitalist system. Yes, there is some blatant editorializing going on, but I can guarantee y
  • Absolute Crap (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp@GmaCOUGARil.com minus cat> on Monday March 17, 2008 @11:45AM (#22773750) Homepage Journal
    The whole "the Internet has degraded the quality of news" meme makes me want to axe-murder someone. I'm truly sick of hearing it. Its not true, and it mostly comes from people having a vested interest in the old media. This worst part if it is this silly fantasy that the news was of better quality and unbiased when it was 3 networks and newspapers in every city. Limited choice does not equal better quality. Having all news in the grip of the newsmedia priesthood does not ensure fair reporting. Self-contained guilds aren't always the best way to ensure quality and openness, and that's what we had with the old system. These old media types never seem to realize that the reasons independent Internet press took off... both right and left... is because it had gotten to the point where no one really trusted the old news cartels. They're mad because giants like Dan Rather can be brought down by common people with keyboards when he pushes faked documents. NBC is mad because they can't get away with putting rockets on fuel tanks to make vehicles explode for their stories.
  • This is only true if you define "journalism" as being the spew regurgitated by mainstream media and their partners.
  • Two stories - the war in Iraq and the 2008 presidential election campaign - represented more than a quarter of the stories in newspapers, on television and online last year, the project found.
    What about the ever important celebrity gossip?
  • Everyone knows that.

    I'd just like to see a reporter ask a follow up question once in a while when a politicians makes some claim or another. All they do is parrot what the sack of shit politico says. Same thing with press releases of the "sleep causes cancer" type of "science" from "research institutes" which are actually poorly disguised activist groups conducting half assed phone polls.

    Online news isn't any better. It's just as biased, perhaps even more so. It's either warmed over shallow crap or manifest
  • Drew Curtis actually sums up the net's overall effect on journalism quite well in his book [amazon.com]. Say what you will about Fark, and admittedly I originally wrote this book off as sophomoric and self-promoting drivel, but then I discovered it in the University of Pittsburgh Library, of all places!!!! Apparently, somebody in academic circles must've actually taken this seriously. And, to be honest, he actually makes a lot of very good points.
  • Sure, I work at a newspaper, but would likely have an IT job if I didn't like my job, and the area I work in, so well. :-)

    The thing is, it's all part of the slow death spiral that journalism has been doing for a long time. Before amateurs were let loose on "news sites" doing the sort of work journalists were doing for free instead of the moderate living wage real journalists were getting.

    The downside is that most the online journalists don't do their own research. Take a look at most the popular 'sites.

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