The State of the Media

This morning first thing, this State of the Media report was posted on a few blogs. I started reading through the sections, which cover newspapers, online, local/cable/network TV, magazines, radio and ethnic/alternative media. It was put together by Columbia’s JSchool (and a few other folks) and funded by Pew. NPR was on it by around 11am, with Talk of the Nation. One caller noted his experience with news, where he goes to blogs first, because he feels they filter traditional news better, and their follows their links to those articles recommended. Audio link here.

Dan Gillmor noted Howard Kurtz’ coverage of the report:

Imagine a business that is steadily losing customers, shrinking its work force, cutting back on services and mistrusted by much of the public.

That is a snapshot of the news business in 2004.

The report is pretty dismal, but it does hold some hope for online media, where 2/3 of the 150 million people in the US go for news. Though you should note that online news sites are heavily dependent on paper papers for content.

If people increasingly substitute the Web for their old media before a robust economic model for the Web evolves, the economic effect could be devastating for journalism. Companies might begin to cut back significantly on their newsgathering abilities, as audiences abandon profitable old platforms in favor of less profitable new ones. The net in this case might weaken, not strengthen, the economic vitality of news organizations and the quality of American journalism.

Robin Sloan at Poytner also blogged it here.

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