State of the art

State of the art

: The Project for Excellence in Journalism has its new report on the state of media, 2005. It is, once again, big and will take time to digest. So start chewing. Its five ubertrends:

1. There are now several models of journalism, and the trajectory increasingly is toward those that are faster, looser, and cheaper.

2. The rise in partisanship of news consumption and the notion that people have retreated to their ideological corners for news has been widely exaggerated.

3. To adapt, journalism may have to move in the direction of making its work more transparent and more expert, and of widening the scope of its searchlight.

4. Despite the new demands, there is more evidence than ever that the mainstream media are investing only cautiously in building new audiences.

5. The three broadcast network news divisions face their most important moment of transition in decades.

There’s this, too:

The problem is that the traditional media are leaving it to technology companies – like Google – and to individuals and entrepreneurs – like bloggers – to explore and innovate on the Internet. The risk is that traditional journalism will cede to such competitors both the new technology and the audience that is building there.

: Howie Kurtz highlights this:

In covering the Iraq war last year, 73 percent of the stories on Fox News included the opinions of the anchors and journalists reporting them, a new study says.

By contrast, 29 percent of the war reports on MSNBC and 2 percent of those on CNN included the journalists’ own views.

And when you combine those stats with the ratings, what do we conclude? Perhaps that the priesthood doesn’t approve of opinions, but the audience does.

And, by the way, as I was listening to Lou Dobbs on CNN (via Sirius) tonight — returning from an on-air visit with the opinonated Larry Kudlow — I heard him give clear opinions and you know what? It’s a welcome change. At the too-oft-afore-mentioned Harvard confab, we said it’s time to call bullshit bullshit.

  • Jeff – Re: jumping into ideological corners, I’ve found myself reading more and more of the reasonable right-of-center stuff, and more and more avoiding the left-of-center stuff. In part that’s because of issues you’ve examined here regarding the strange change underfoot in the left, but also because I feel like I don’t need anyone to tell me what it is to think like a liberal, while I do need to gain a grasp on what conservatives are saying.
    Obviously, this would have been somewhat true before the kind of politics our country (and globe) has come upon. But I wonder, when I see the display of a lack of ideological retreat, if there’s some statistic left undiscovered of how one side intentionally reads the other.

  • The study presents a clear piece of advice to MSM, which they’ll probably ignore: Just accept blogs. Acknowledge that they can’t exist without you because you do the reporting that is one of the primary source feeds of the blogosphere. And accept that, increasingly, you can’t exist without them, because they drive readers to your Web pages, where revenues have increased 30%, to $10 billion. Much of that revenue comes from hits generated by blogs, so learn to love us.

  • How do you not see a direct contradiction between these two statements?
    The rise in partisanship of news consumption and the notion that people have retreated to their ideological corners for news has been widely exaggerated.
    Perhaps that the priesthood doesn’t approve of opinions, but the audience does.
    Partisan, biased, slanted news most definitely is on the rise. In television we see it with Fox, which effectively seems to have every right wing Bush supporter in the country relying on it for the majority of their TV news input. The blogs, of course, are pretty much out the window. There are so few examples of blogs that even remotely approach a “neutral tone” that it’s not funny. But that’s only a problem if you view blogs as some sort of replacement for or addition to actual journalism and news. The blogosphere is, as I see it, a massive addition, albeit of primarily lower quality, to the op-eds and opinion columnists in the tree killing news trade.
    Of that entire report, the part I find most disturbing is the seeming lack of interest that actual journalistic sources have in adding more news gathering resources to their organizations. The country is hungrier than ever for instant news on everything, 24/7. Bloggers rarely, if ever, do actual news gathering and reporting. We rely on the MSM to do that for us. How we can encourage CNN and company to massively increase their news gathering sources should be one of the top questions now.

  • erg

    I’m not sure what Jarvis is talking about here. Lou Dobbs has always had an opinion program rather than a pure news program. Jarvis talks as if its a change of some kind.