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04:07

Unsurprisingly, study finds MSM behind most news


We shouldn’t be surprised by the fact that most of news still comes from traditional sources. This is the conclusion of a study in the US by the Project for Excellence in Journalism.

It found that most original reporting still comes from primarily newspapers, followed by television and radio, despite the proliferation of digital media.

Newspapers accounted for two-thirds of new information, followed by TV at 28% and radio at 7%

No doubt some will use this as ammunition to attack the internet as a forum for regurgitation and bloviation, and crow about the importance of traditional media.

But this misses the point. The study would have been more astounding had it come up with the opposite result.

It is not unexpected to find that digital-only outlets accounted for just 4% of original pieces of reporting.

Digital media is in its infancy while established media has a structural and organisational advantage.

Newspapers have been around for more than 100 years, during which time they established themselves as the primary vehicle for news and information.

The study focused on news in the Baltimore area, raising questions as to how far its results came be applied to other parts of the US or internationally.

As the New York Times points out, online start-ups in other parts of America, such as San Diego and Minneapolis, have become good sources of original reporting.

In the province of British Columbia, The Tyee and the Vancouver Observer are two digital-only outlets that provide local news.

Perhaps the most worrying aspect of the study is that the journalism done by mainstream media was driven mostly by government statements rather than journalists’ own reporting.

This finding is most worrying of all as it undermines the journalism of traditional media.

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