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Reading Response #1 – State of the News Media 2013

For your first reading response assignment, please read The Pew Research Center’s annual report –  The State of the News Media 2013.  Pay particular attention to: Overview; the special report – Americans Show signs of leaving a News Outlet; and Digital Developments.

By Tuesday 9/10 @11:59p, you should post a response to the readings here. Your comment should be at least 3 but no more than 5 paragraphs in length. Your response should include both a brief summary of important points made in the reading, as well as your perspective about the statements that the Overview, special report and Digital Developments sections make about the future of journalism. You may also refer to and/or respond to previous student posts.

Published inSocialmediaTechnologyTrends


  1. Kelsey J. Kondraski Kelsey J. Kondraski

    In the overview in the Pew Research Center’s annual report, The State of the News Media 2013, the article first discusses how the media is changing through interesting statistics. I found it particularly interesting that even CNN produced story packages have been cut almost in have in the past five years from 2007-2012. I expected to see that print journalism was “dying” but I didn’t expect to see such a credible news outlet fail.
    I also noticed that live reporting was failing. Upon reading further I got a feeling from the article that it made journalists seem as they were becoming kind of lazy. I realize that this could be a sign of journalists throwing in the towel. I saw that three major cable networks had live report fall 30 percent but pre-recorded interviews rose 31 percent. When the overview discusses the coverage of the 2012 presidential election, it states only a quarter of statements in the media about the presidential candidates originated with journalists while twice as many came from political partisans. This was a complete reversal from twelve years earlier when half of the statements originated with journalists and only one third from partisans.
    I also really liked this statement: “there are other new players producing content that could advance citizens’ knowledge about public issues. They are covering subject areas that would have once been covered more regularly and deeply by beat reporters at traditional news outlets—areas such as health…” I think this couldn’t have come at a better time since nutrition is my forte which goes along with health.
    In the next article America Shows Signs of Leaving a News Outlet, it explains that America is abandoning news outlets that no longer pertain to what they want. Also, Americans are ignorant to the financial crisis of the media. People who are also older, more educated males are the most likely to walk away from a certain news outlet because they are most likely to pay for news. I also found it extremely interesting and almost disheartening that the only source of news that is really growing is online and digital sources. As a graduating journalism major I feel like that is what I will be pushed into for a job.

    -Kelsey Kondraski

  2. Carter Wintsch Carter Wintsch

    The first real career I ever wanted (this excludes astronaut, firefighter, or any other stereotypical professions that kids want to grow up to be) was a journalist. In my years of preparation and schooling for this profession, it seems as if I am constantly being reminded that reporting power is shrinking everywhere. I did not have trouble taking in the fact that story length is being cut and things like traffic and weather are becoming larger parts of the news. I was surprised when I read, “Estimates for newspaper newsroom cutbacks in 2012 put the industry down 30% since its peak in 2000 and below 40,000 full-time professional employees for the first time since 1978”. What shocked me the most, however, was that people aren’t even noticing.

    I think that as people that are constantly immersed in journalism, we easily forget that it isn’t a way of life for the rest of the world like it is for us. We check blogs and the news on a regular basis, not just for the news, but to refine our craft. So now, we have people leaving their news sources without even being able to cite examples as to why, simply because they aren’t even aware of what is happening in the industry. This begs the question, HOW DO WE INFORM THEM?!

    I think that news organizations, whether it be a newspaper, television network, website, etc., always have to work out a balance of giving the people what they want and then giving them what they NEED. In my humble opinion, I think that far too often we have news organizations giving the people more of what they want (i.e. complete George Zimmeran trial coverage) and less of what they need which are the stories that serve a deeper purpose (i.e. Syria coverage, NSA leaks, etc.). Of course, I have no idea how to do this subtly enough that an audience doesn’t just leave and go somewhere else to get what they want, but it is now obvious that just feeding them exactly what they want is working either. Maybe the industry just needs some radical changes.

  3. Lucas Rodgers Lucas Rodgers

    Based on this report, it seems that the news media aren’t in the best state. There is some hope for news going forward, but news outlets appear to be on the decline in general. One of the major causes for this is that news outlets have lost a lot of the advertising market to mobile and online advertisers. On the other hand, in-depth reporting and coverage of breaking news has declined, leading many viewers to abandon certain news outlets altogether. It’s somewhat of a vicious cycle as the news outlets try to find ways to save money, which inadvertently leads to a decrease in the quality of their news.
    It’s not surprising that news outlets have struggled to compete for advertising space with companies that have a huge online and mobile presence, such as Google, Facebook and Twitter. These companies can create custom-tailored advertisement patterns, aimed at small groups or individuals, by analyzing their search histories. However, news outlets usually rely on broader, more traditional advertisement methods. On the bright side, news outlets may have found a solution to this problem, in the form of paid digital content.
    The report mentions the success of the New York Times’ paid subscription program for their online content and that many other American dailies are in the process of implementing similar programs. Paid digital content could be a viable way for news outlets to regain profits that were lost due to shrinking ad space. The report suggests that paid digital content would also encourage news outlets to provide more specialized, in-depth stories that are worth paying for, which could improve the quality of journalism overall.
    The report also draws attention to the trend that TV news, not just print, is also suffering. More and more people are leaving TV news behind, most likely because these TV news outlets aren’t offering the same quality and variety of coverage that they used to. This may seem like a bad sign, but it also presents a unique opportunity for independent journalists and citizen journalists to reach larger audiences.
    The report mentions that use of social media is on the rise, particularly among black people. Reporters can utilize social media to share information that won’t be censored or altered by a news outlet. It’s bad to see news outlets struggling, but it’s also hopeful to see a rise in independent reporting. It’s important that journalists serve as watchdogs and seekers of truth, rather than mouthpieces for other agendas, such as political parties, as was largely the case with the coverage of the 2012 presidential election.

  4. Olivia La Bianca Olivia La Bianca

    “One Moment Please, I’ll Connect You”

    The Pew Research Center’s annual report on American journalism did not surprise me in the slightest. In every journalism class I have taken, I have been told that the news media (especially the newspaper industry) has been suffering due to the rise of technology. “About the State of the News Media 2013” makes it clear as to why.

    The internet allows corporations that would have gone through a news media organization in the past to have direct access to the public, consequently eliminating the need for a “channel”. Society has been slowly eliminating the “go-between” organization for years. A good example would be switchboard operators of the early and mid-1900s. No longer does the person on one end of the telephone have to wait for the person in the middle to connect them with the individual they are trying to contact. Modern technology has eliminated that job.

    Also, there was always the chance that the switchboard operator would make a mistake, connect you with the wrong person, and suddenly you would be romantically greeting someone else’s great grandmother by accident.

    The news media seems to be heading in the same direction as the switchboard operator. Regardless of how quickly news media makes an entity’s information accessible to the public – often only a matter of days or even hours or minutes – it will always be quicker and more efficient for the entity to directly contact the public itself. No need to wait for the “one moment please, I’ll connect you.” Also, the chances of the message being lost or miscommunicated dwindle down significantly if you eliminate the middle man.

    So what does this say for current journalism students such as myself, who are learning the news media trade in a world where said trade is quickly becoming obsolete? At this point, I would have to say that the journalism major is equipping students with the ability to navigate in other, newly-discovered fields that entail the same skill sets and will make themselves apparent in the very near future.

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