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The Net's Effect on Journalism

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the no-not-that-way-the-other-way dept.

The Media 149

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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Ob (1)

Helen Keller (842669) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772016)

frsgnnnnmeh!

huh (2, Insightful)

Chicken04GTO (957041) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772020)

take away the subjects people care most about and theres not much left. huh. thats amazing.
what a surprise.

Re:huh (1)

sgt.greywar (1039430) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774130)

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.

Not the Net's fault... (5, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Not the Net's fault... (4, Insightful)

Zelos (1050172) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Not the Net's fault... (1)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772268)

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.

Re:Not the Net's fault... (1)

duncan3dc (1228744) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772310)

You should be doing that anyway...

Damn kids with your interweb spoiling my news coverage

Re:Not the Net's fault... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22774232)

I intend to. It's a possibility that we won't have a result until after Christmas anyway.

Re:Not the Net's fault... (1)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774998)

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.

Re:Not the Net's fault... (3, Insightful)

sjs132 (631745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772344)

"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 your heads down and munching... QUESTION EVERYTHING. (except me, of course.)

Re:Not the Net's fault... (1)

dyefade (735994) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772976)

Film was called "They Live".

Mod parent up. Consume.

Re:Not the Net's fault... (1)

PRC Banker (970188) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774288)

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.

Re:Not the Net's fault... (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 6 years ago | (#22775438)

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 that is interesting and what we should care about?

Re:Not the Net's fault... (2, Funny)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772444)

At least with all this attention on politics we don't know what Britney and Paris are up too hey?

Re:Not the Net's fault... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22772582)

The reason they don't show kenyan violence is that it's muslims killing christians for their religion. It's politically incorrect, you see. So you're not to know about it. Just like the Darfur crisis.

Otherwise people might know that a faith whose founder was a genocidal paedophile, whose members have been killing constantly for over 1350 years, and who were behind 9/11 ... that that faith might have ... a violent component *gasp*.

Re:Not the Net's fault... (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772998)

I assume in referring to Muhammad as a paedophile you are referring to Aisha? The girl whose father betroved her to him at the age of 6, and was consummated as soon as society at the time deemed her old enough (as in puberty -- the idea that you need to be nearly 2 decades old before you are old enough to determine if you want to have sex is a relatively new invention; for most of history "puberty" was old enough [at the same time, for most of history average life expectancy was under half a century]). By modern standards basically all of our ancestors beyond about 5 generations back were paedophiles (in the common sense of the word, rather than the DSM-IV sense thereof). Disclaimer -- not a Muslim, may have gotten Aisha's name wrong, may have misspelled any of it. Simply read up on the claim when I first heard it because usually sensationalist sounding claims like that are at least exaggerated, if not outright fabricated.

Re:Not the Net's fault... (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773836)

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.

Re:Not the Net's fault... (5, Interesting)

Project2501a (801271) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772140)

> 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.

Re:Not the Net's fault... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22772946)

Noam Chomsky the disgusting communist pig? That Noam Chomsky? Thanks for his agitprop.

Re:Not the Net's fault... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22772964)

News has always been run by businesses. The empires of Hearst and Pulitzer are no different then those of today.

News-Free News ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22773330)

Almost all of your news and media comes from only six corporations:

http://www.thenation.com/special/2006_entertainment.pdf [thenation.com]

So these six corporations (Disney, General Electric, Time-Warner, Viacom, CBS, and News Corp) can present the news in a manner that will always place themselves in a favorable position by hiring only those in management who share the same ideology and loyalty to their respective corporations and dismissing those that do not exhibit this.

It's the perfect medium for multi-billion dollar corporations to push an agenda and generate the greatest amount of profit feasible. If you control all that is seen and heard you then can manipulate large portions of society much more efficiently then outright censorship by generating the illusion of a vibrate free press. Anyone that falls outside of this scripted collective steering process and its parameters are deemed "fringe", "kooks", "anti-semitic" or worse "anti-American".

No need for government censorship when those that bring you the information will willingly self-censor and prepackage their product so eagerly. It's the modern form of the "Ministry of Truth".

Re:Not the Net's fault... (1)

gigahawk (745812) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773546)

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 know what's best for them or the things they want.

Re:Not the Net's fault... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22773806)

It's an obvious false dilemma that quality news and profits cannot coexist.

Of course because Fox News can give you the same "quality" news as the BBC, right?

Re:Not the Net's fault... (2, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774464)

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?

Re:Not the Net's fault... (3, Informative)

Bent Mind (853241) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Not the Net's fault... (1)

amplt1337 (707922) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774642)

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...

Re:Not the Net's fault... (1)

Metrol (147060) | more than 6 years ago | (#22775554)

I believe the term coined for this is the "Internet". Truth and lies can be found in abundance throughout. Buyer beware!

Only high on charts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22772214)

because people will spend more effort bitching online than actually going out and doing something.

Iran or Election, if even a quarter of the people who posted on sites like this and Digg then we might be reading about real changes in the US but the fact is these same people don't. They are the modern day version of the water cooler braggarts (then I told my boss to gfo) who don't do nearly half of what they claim.

News, hardly. If anything too many of the internet sources turned into rabid dogs totally free of any quality information and instead chock full of half truths and obvious lies.

FWIW, these two issues are not the most important in the US. The first has hardly any real effect on the average American and the second is usually out of our hands, even more so if you watch the battle in the Democratic party. (who would of thought, the party which screams about Republican's trying to keep votes from counting are doing the same themselves but on a very public stage)

What you do find is places where discussion is allowed is that you can see a shout down effect. Basically groups exchange messages saying "go here and do this" and they do it. The broadcast media is immune to it, as well as the print media. Look at these elections you mentioned, before it was down to the three we have you could not get past Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinch stories leading popular sites like Digg or similar. Why? Because just like online polls, every vote and position must automatically be considered fraud as no one has a method to positively identify who voted/posted. Talk about rigging elections, it would be the same as traveling from district to district and voting in each for any elected official.

Constraining conversation? Only if you don't go to real news sources.

Re:Not the Net's fault... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22772236)

Here's a news source that posts the stories mainstream news won't:

http://www.rationalreview.com/news [rationalreview.com]

After reading this for a few days, it's easy to see how mainstream news is just another arm of government, working on government's behalf. One obvious example is the constant stream of stories about individuals protecting themselves from predators without the aid of government. You won't see that on mainstream news, because mainstream news owes half their "success" (measured in dollars, not exposed facts) to government.

In fact (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772262)

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.

Re:Not the Net's fault... (3, Interesting)

mike2R (721965) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Not the Net's fault... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773808)

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.

Lowest Common Denominator (1)

dj245 (732906) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772542)

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:Not the Net's fault... (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772666)

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.

Re:Not the Net's fault... (1)

SebaSOFT (859957) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772708)

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?

Re:Not the Net's fault... (1)

Beefaroni (1229886) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773590)

I'm not surprised why a lot of US citizens never go outside it's country. What are you afraid of?
read the news... our dollar sucks and we have credit card bills out the ass.

Re:Not the Net's fault... (1)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772908)

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...).

Re:Not the Net's fault... (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773036)

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 any kind of press coverage, chances are they were almost entirely "hero and victory" type stories. I challange you to find any two major news sources (at least one national) that reported on the war's death toll in 2007.
=Smidge=

Re:Not the Net's fault... (0, Flamebait)

dens (98172) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774560)

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.
Perhaps Republican Presidents aren't so bad fro education after all. Without wars, most Americans wouldn't even know these countries exist.

But serioulsy, American news has never featured news from around world, since to Americans, America IS the world.

Re:Not the Net's fault... (1)

OldSoldier (168889) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774990)

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 the other "for profit" news reporters turn their attention there instead of trying to find the "next big story"?

If this is true, then there's an interesting min-max problem here... too few news reporting companies and we run into less diverse coverage as either they don't have time to cover more or there's an active conspiracy going on. Too many news reporting agencies and they are all hyper nervous about making a profit and all grab on to the same popular set of headlines. Somewhere in the middle is the sweet spot.

I'm not saying that this IS the case, merely that I'd like to see research on it.

Why Democratize? (4, Insightful)

abscissa (136568) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Why Democratize? (5, Insightful)

mikelu (120879) | more than 6 years ago | (#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? (4, Interesting)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 6 years ago | (#22775354)

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.

Re:Why Democratize? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772340)

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 served by conventional media.

Re:Why Democratize? (2, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772676)

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 opinion is being democratised. The forming of public opinion is being shaped by a much more democratic internet and not necessarily news sites but more by specialist sites that often follow only one topic, be it the slaughter in Iraq, the suppression of freedom in Tibet, election fraud in the US or the extinguishing of the Palestinians by Israel as a range of examples. A huge number of sites, that are in affect serialised news stories, that you can use to monitor a particular situation and watch how it progresses and that you can also compare to the news in mild and brief as presented by more typical news sites.

So the typical news websites have simply become a lead to more specialised news sites that cover a topic in far more detail and over a far longer period.

Re:Why Democratize? (3, Insightful)

404 Clue Not Found (763556) | more than 6 years ago | (#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>

Re:Why Democratize? (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774128)

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.

Re:Why Democratize? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22774384)

You just hate democracy, don't you!

I'll Translate (0, Troll)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772052)

If you don't agree with the left leaning crowd then you don't have a voice. You are automatically branded a "troll" and down-modded.

Exactly (1)

cyberbian (897119) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772064)

'American news hole'

You read it 'hear' first!

Re:Exactly (4, Informative)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772090)

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.

Re:Exactly (1)

cyberbian (897119) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772196)

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!

Re:Exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22772502)

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.

Ya think? A picture is worth a thousand words, so here is the GDP of the various states, compared to other countries around the world: http://www.businessinnovationinsider.com/United%20States%20of%20GDP.jpg [businessin...nsider.com] /and to forestall the obvious joke, the map was probably made before the Fed started dumping paper on the market to prop up the stock market and the housing mess.

Re:Exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22774208)

That's an incredibly disingenuous map, even putting aside any kind of arguments as to whether money is the only important metric (or even relevant in terms of generating news.)

Half of those comparisons are only close using Purchasing Power Parity, the other half need to use nominal income. And that's to even get it within "a few hundred billion" kinda close, with the american state consistently on the lower side.

And then there are some that are just plain wrong, such as Russia==New Jersey. New Jersey's GSP is either a third or a fifth of Russia's GDP, depending on whether you look at PPP numbers or not. That's not just "outdated", it's flatly incorrect.

Actually, it's worse (1)

Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772824)

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 keep the money and spend it on their own projects.

Not a peep within the states, but you know whole world outside knew about it. So yeah, it's *out there*.

Re:Exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22773044)

My wife and I went on our honeymoon to Italy just over a year ago. I was amazed when I turned on the television how much coverage US affairs received. At first I thought it was because I was focusing on the English speaking channels. So I decided to watch the Italian channels for a while and even then half the coverage was about the United States either about Iraq or the upcoming primary race (This was at the time Kerry had his "botched joke" about Bush not being smart but sounded like he said our troops are stupid--thus putting the final nail in the coffin of him running for president again). Even when reporting on stories not directly related to the United States the commentators almost always brought the US into it. While they thought we shouldn't be in Iraq they wanted us involved everywhere else. It was surprising.

Re:Exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22773188)

> Yes, it's a big nation with a lot of its own news

Actually, the nation is broken up into these small market segments. Around Los Angeles ("Southland") you never get news about San Francisco and vice versa. People barely know the name of their governor; nobody knows who governs the neighboring (U.S.) states or what their current political issues are.

It's all about this and that street corner, mugging, drive-by shooting, accident, car chase and the local weather.

Re:Exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22773540)

Speaking as an American, I've gotta say "amen!" The average United States citizen is perhaps the most ignorant human in all of history, because here, ignorance is celebrated as a virtue. "Faith does not question.", "Don't rock the boat.", "Mind your own business.", and all of these other homilies tends to shape the person to stick their nose in the ground and be an ostrich, reacting to anything from farther than three feet away with hostility and burning resentment.

It's all you can do to find a cable provider who'll even *carry* BBC or Bloomberg news or any point of view other than God, Flag, and Country. If you do go out of the way to find out something going on outside your armed fortress, you'll have a heck of a time discussing it with your neighbors and co-workers without falling under suspicion of being a terrorist, communist, insufficiently patriotic, "a fag", etc.

Here's the sum total of everything Americans want to hear from the news: #1 Is it going to rain today? #2 Will my credit card still buy crap at the mall? #3 What's the score from all of our fine, patriotic sporting events this week?

Re:Exactly (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773794)

Here's the sum total of everything Americans want to hear from the news: #1 Is it going to rain today? #2 Will my credit card still buy crap at the mall? #3 What's the score from all of our fine, patriotic sporting events this week?

About the same as what most Tabloid readers in the UK want as well then, but at least our news seems to cover other things. I guess they might be more interested in war (the sensationalised version) and which celebrity has done what to end up exposed/naked/caught with drugs as well.

"Who beat us at cricket this time?" is another common one, but when the World Series is 90% American then that probably comes under "patriotic sporting" in the US.

From the Article (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22772086)

© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
And they wonder why nobody speaks about the news online

New Business Model (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772128)

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.

Re:New Business Model (2, Funny)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772256)

3.5) ????

Re:New Business Model (1)

BaphometLaVey (1063264) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772322)

How many people need to follow your business model before you become a Web Pundit?

What I see... (3, Informative)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:What I see... (2, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772376)

"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 employers killing their workers during the early 19th century, I was apalled at the hitsory painted in my "history" classes with garring facts ommitted and covered so quickly nad so naively that it was not meant to inform but to dissuade.

Like one commenter up above was concerned about credentials, what I'm more concerned about is what experts are getting away with. Looking back on the history of medicine and psychology (i.e. people with PHD's believing they could 'shock' their mentally ill patients and "cure" them) there are all kinds of quacks and nutcases unfortunately due to our limited knowledge that are only found out long after the fact, 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.

Re:What I see... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22773148)

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.

Re:What I see... (2, Insightful)

amplt1337 (707922) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774734)

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 wrong document to prove it (there were other, non-forged documents demonstrating the truth of the POINT of the story). The "Swiftboating" is another example -- the guys were cranks, liars, political operatives, but they got some coverage, so everyone else had to immediately rush to cover them, lending more and more legitimacy to things that weren't actually true.

But then, truth costs money; echoing babble is much cheaper. And when you've got 188 hours of cable news to fill every week per channel, well... you're surely not going to pay reporters to actually find out stuff to fill that time, are you?

Article only applies to American Based news media. (2, Insightful)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772134)

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).

Re:Article only applies to American Based news med (1)

odoketa (1040340) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772640)

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.

I'd like to see the study (2, Interesting)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772184)

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:I'd like to see the study (1, Insightful)

cat_jesus (525334) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772280)

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 was absurd.

Another problem is the severe lack of investigative questioning. They don't ever seem to want to delve into an issue and figure out *why* something is happening. For example, in recent news feeds about violence erupting in Tibet there is no mention of why violence is erupting. Who are the players? What are the issues? They show a video of a guy in Tiber riding his bike, a couple of guys pull him off the bike and start beating the crap out of him and there is no explanation. Why? Because they don't know and they don't care. They've got video and that's all that matters.

Another problem is the lack of fact checking. 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. When it comes to reporting on anything outside of crime, war and politics? Forget it. Reporters are too lazy and ignorant to care about much else. And if they do, they're likely to get the facts dead wrong.

War almost broke out in South America a few weeks ago and there wasn't a peep about it in the mainstream media. I guess they didn't have any video ready.

Re:I'd like to see the study (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#22775650)

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 handle.

Re:I'd like to see the study (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22772902)

PEJ's State of the News Media 2008: http://www.journalism.org/node/10168 [journalism.org]

Cheers, -m

Investigative Journalism Takes Time and Money (4, Insightful)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772188)

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.

Re:Investigative Journalism Takes Time and Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22775532)

Bartkid sez,
I agree with c...99's statements.
My first thoughts were along these lines when I read this post.
I see consolidation of media ownership and downsizing newsrooms as more the cause of the narrowing of the newshole (the rest of the paper once the adverts are in place).
Control for those two factors and the narrowing influence of the web will be negligible to negative.

I also find a number of journalists rankle at any feedback on their work. Hearing from readers exposes more thin-skinnedness than any other reaction.

Well DUH (2, Informative)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772278)

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.

Re:Well DUH (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772398)

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.

Re:Well DUH (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772786)

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 to not go to Chicago unless absolutely necessary?

I picked a bad example. I knew better, which makes me an idiot.

Re:Well DUH (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773466)

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).

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...

Re:Well DUH (2, Insightful)

PineGreen (446635) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772516)

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.

Re:Well DUH (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772870)

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 of them is getting impeached for lying about a blow job and it's costing the British taxpayers forty million dollars than that would be newsworthy as well.

Most of what is in most newspapers I don't consider to be news at all. If it has no chance of affecting me personally, it's just gossip.

Re:Well DUH (2, Interesting)

fremsley471 (792813) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772568)

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?

Re:Well DUH (1)

Zelos (1050172) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773982)

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 context to judge your own society and make voting decisions. The rest of the world is like a giant laboratory where they're trying out alternative ways of running things, why ignore it?

only took them *that* long (1)

Escogido (884359) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772410)

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.

Seems obvious to me... (1, Insightful)

dogzilla (83896) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772478)

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 reasonably fluent in French and fully fluent in Spanish, and I regularly read several European and Latin-American online newspapers. The information presented in other countries is dramatically different, in the general and in the specific. While I'm not quite ready to don a tinfoil hat, it's hard not to see something systematic in this, and the reality is undeniable. Most Americans my age (40) have so little trust in the traditional media that they turn to political satire shows to get their news. Seriously - who cares about Heath Ledger's suicide to that extent? Especially when there are so many other important issues that should be covered?

As for the previous poster who mentioned the election coverage - while this is an extremely important election for this country, I have to agree that the coverage has been ridiculous. At this point, the "analysts" have the gall to claim that the public is suffering from "election fatigue", which is basically their way of saying "We've exhausted every possible detail and want to talk about something different". Just another example of the American media's race to irrelevance.

Care to back that up? (1)

Asmor (775910) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772690)

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 because few people want to read them (I don't think I've ever seen anyone my own age buy a paper). I don't know what the situation is with TV news, financially, but the vast majority of it that I've seen is now more of an entertainment program than a news program so its moot.

Winter Soldier II hearings exemplar of MSM (0, Offtopic)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772492)

The Winter Soldier II hearings [ivaw.org] ended yesterday. These hearings showcase soldiers telling their stories in their own words. They're riveting listening. The Mainstream media (MSM) wasn't present for them.

The MSM got the run-up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq wrong and have yet to apologize. Reading their coverage it's a wonder anyone can understand how irrational it is to not hold war crime trials. The only Winter Soldier II coverage came from alternative news which uses the Internet extensively: Indymedia and Democracy Now!. Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! [democracynow.org] reports that the MSM simply wasn't there. The Washington Post ran something small in their local section because the Winter Soldier hearings happened to occur near their offices. On today's DN! Seymour Hirsch briefly talked about how shameful the MSM war coverage was. He touched on both the run-up lies and Winter Soldier II non-coverage (they'll probably have their coverage, including Hirsch's rebuttal, online later today; check out The Internet Archive [archive.org] for copies of DN! as well).

Re:Winter Soldier II hearings exemplar of MSM (1)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773228)

Two things: I accidentally misspelled Seymour Hersh's name. And today's Democracy Now! coverage should be online soon in a variety of formats (high-quality audio [archive.org] , lesser-quality audio [archive.org] , other audio formats [archive.org] , video [archive.org] ). All this week DN! promises more coverage from the Winter Soldier II hearings.

It's not what's being said loudly that counts (2, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772650)

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.

*NEWS* is in the eye of the beholder... (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772910)

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 in Tibet are an example but only for a few minutes. Every year there are protests. Every year the Chinese gov. reacts horribly and every year it gets about a week of coverage.

Why would I read *world events* in the mainstream media when I can read these much more interesting stories on Science Daily:

Genes That Reduce 'Bad Cholesterol' And Protect Against Atherosclerosis Identified

Speed Of Light: Sub-femtosecond Stop Watch For 'Photon Finish' Races

Light Waves Can Detect Alzheimer's Disease Early On, Study Suggests

Soy Compound May Halt Spread Of Prostate Cancer

Huge Iceberg Splits In Southern Atlantic Ocean

New Bird Species Discovered

Pain-free Childbirth? Get Real

Rare North Island Brown Kiwi Hatches At Smithsonian's National Zoo

Regular Low Dose Aspirin Cuts Asthma Risk In Women, Study Finds

Nanomaterials Show Unexpected Strength Under Stress

Toddlers Affected Most By Secondhand Smoke Exposure At Home, Study Shows

p.s. 90% of these stories will eventually make it to the mainstream media outlets as sidebars or 5 minute commentaries on the 11 0'clock news... after they've been misunderstood or converted to fluff pieces

Amateur Journalism still going strong on the web (1)

jolyonr (560227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22772966)

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

What about journalism before the net? (5, Interesting)

LS (57954) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773166)

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:What about journalism before the net? (2, Insightful)

PotatoHead (12771) | more than 6 years ago | (#22775708)

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 traditional media sources and be happy with that. Do it in a casual enough manner and it will all add up too.

Having some conversations with people will just shatter that in an instant, and that's exactly what happened with me and political issues.

Been using the net since '91, pre web. Didn't do politics much at all. My focus was tech and entertainment, just like most everybody else. Those conversations were no different than those I had with real people near me. The primary advantage was a greater body of participants, meaning most any subject matter could be discussed and shared with others of interest. Absolutely great stuff and honestly a nice chunk of how I make my living these days.

That all has moved into more mainstream discourse and the impact is still rippling through. I find it very interesting that we are having the open -vs- closed / smart -vs- dumb network discussions right as these things intersect the greater political discourse! With this administration in particular, we would have seen far greater trouble had we not had the venue to fact check and sanity check what we were being fed.

There is one downside though, and maybe this relates to the topic:

The ability for people to self-select and seek only affirmation is far greater now than it once was. The fairness doctrine was aimed squarely at that, kind of forcing people to consume enough news and commentary diversity to prevent simple affirmation from gestating into bad territory.

With that doctrine removed, we get news-tainment now. On one hand, it's good as in "The Daily Show" kind of good. Younger people can watch that show, stay informed and entertained. On the other hand, we get Hannity! People can watch that show, but get seriously misinformed yet are still entertained.

Right now there is a nice split between older news consumers, still largely depending on the traditional media sources, Gen X'ers like myself who will easily choose the net in fairly significant numbers, and the growing younger class who grew up with it by default.

IMHO, the perception of narrowing, in the spirit of how I think it's being presented here, will diminish as the older crowd moves on.

AP news story focuses on news stories by AP... (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773444)

... 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 you that if that editorializing wouldn't get these massive ratings, it would have died out long ago.

In short, I place the blame for idiotic reporting squarely at the feet of the American public. Stop watching stupid crap, and stupid crap will stop being produced. Yes, I know - the American public is not a homogeneous entity. But it is frightening how many people consider Geraldo Rivera to be an actual journalist.

Absolute Crap (3, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 6 years ago | (#22773750)

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.

just the propaganda please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22774514)

Pulllease, you can't democratize the new with the internet. For that you need a full scale invasion with occupation, cluster bombs, torture chambers and propaganda. At least under the western model of democratization.

Take away the propaganda on Iraq, Iran and Pakistan and paid propagandists are at a loss as to what to do with themselves. After that, "rip and paste" (it's a journalistic term) editors working for corporate entities that have lain off most of their reporting staff don't have any copy. This latter is the real problem with news in the US that is owned by less than five companies.

only true if you define journalism as MSM (1)

moxley (895517) | more than 6 years ago | (#22774862)

This is only true if you define "journalism" as being the spew regurgitated by mainstream media and their partners.

Wait a second (1)

Monsuco (998964) | more than 6 years ago | (#22775302)

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?

Journalism is dead (0, Troll)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22775852)

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 manifesto-like hysterial written by someone so mlinded by reality distortion fields it's a wonder they can find their way to the computer to post. Sometimes I can imagine them occasionally trying to type their screed into their microwave oven or their pet.

There's no in between. There's no thoughtful, unbiased analysis. And if think you found an unbiased, truthful site, most likely it's just something that agrees with whatever ideological memetic poison you personally have decided to mainline.
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