Searching for promising news sites

2 02 2010

Congratulations to the St. Louis Beacon for gaining mention in the Reynolds Journalism Institute‘s search for promising online news sites.

The Beacon is getting better all the time and is playing an increasing community role offline, as its principals organize and appear in panel discussions, events, and local broadcasts. That is indeed promising.

It succeeds by most of the  RJI’s measures of online news sites. However, the most promising new media will be those that are revenue-positive. The Beacon, established by a grant, is attempting to support itself through membership donations. If that works, it will be a promising prospect indeed.

RJI Fellow Michele McLellan is soliciting suggesting for other promising sites. Your thoughts?

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Pew study: Traditional media still rules

12 01 2010

I find this unsurprising, and not good news for the old media. They may still rule, but the kingdom of news lies in tatters.

” … A new study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, which takes a close look at the news ecosystem of one city, suggests that while the news landscape has rapidly expanded, most of what the public learns is still overwhelmingly driven by traditional media—particularly newspapers.

“The study, which examined all the outlets that produced local news in Baltimore, Md., for one week, surveyed their output and then did a closer examination of six major narratives during the week, finds that much of the “news” people receive contains no original reporting. Fully eight out of ten stories studied simply repeated or repackaged previously published information.

And of the stories that did contain new information nearly all, 95%, came from traditional media—most of them newspapers. These stories then tended to set the narrative agenda for most other media outlets.”

So what we define as news still comes largely from the same old outlets. Those outlets’ resources are vastly depleted. Hence, we learn far less than we once did.

News consumers starve but lose interest in this paltry gruel. They grow lethargic. So far, they have few sources for a more nutritious diet to energize them. Will a new supply come forward before the population dies off?