Where Does News Come From?

While we’re busy talking about the death of journalism, or free journalism, or how you can find information from other sources if newspapers erect a paywall, it is interesting to note, as the Project for Excellence in Journalism does, that most original reporting still comes from newspapers, television and radio. The study looked at all of the news that was generated in Baltimore during one week, and where it was covered. 95% of stories with new information came from old media, and the “expanding universe of new media, including blogs, Twitter and local websites — at least in Baltimore — played only a limited role: mainly an alert system and a way to disseminate stories from other places.”

In Baltimore, the effect of cutbacks and layoffs on the traditional sources that create the news, was quite severe.  The Baltimore Sun produced 72% fewer stories in the first 11 months of 2009 than it did ten years before.

Still, the study notes, the web is “clearly the place of first publication”.  And with this speed of publication comes a paucity of citation, which is one of the main reasons publishers are complaining so loud.

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