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    What hidden info-nugget did you find in the State of the News Media report?

    by Mark Glaser
    March 16, 2007

    When the Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) released its annual report on The State of the News Media, the response was quick from the blogosphere: “We’ll get back to you on what it all means after we have time to read the 160,000-word report.” I lost count on the number of media watchers who made the same statement. How about a better idea? What if we all submit our own hidden finds from the report in one place, and I’ll report them to everyone. I’ll share mine if you share yours. Here’s the passage that piqued my interest: “Politicians, interest groups and corporate public relations people tell PEJ they have bloggers now on secret retainer — and they are delighted with the results.” So I ask you: What stats or important facts or trends have you learned from the report? Or if you know a blogger on secret retainer, please share your intelligence here. I’ll share the best comments in the next Your Take Roundup.

    Tagged: blogosphere media criticism project for excellence in journalism
    • This took me by surprise (but on reflection probably shouldn’t have:

      “Only 22.5% of alternative weekly readers were in the 25-to-34 group in 2006, down 1 percentage point from the previous year and down more than 7 points since 1995 (29.7%). Meanwhile the number of older readers (45 and up) grew to 40.8% in 2006, the first time the that group has made up more than 40% of readers. That was up from 37.1% the year before and 29.3% in 1995.”

      What I found disappointing was that in the overview and the newspaper sections (the only two I’ve made it through so far) I don’t recall seeing anything significant about freesheets. Given what’s happening, and the potential impact on the quality and depth of journalism, that seems a curious oversight.

    • I was most surprised that the report argued the best online revenue model was to create content licensing consortiums (CLCs) which would charge ISPs and aggregators fees for content usage. News creators underestimate the value of their content online. I think CLCs represent a failure to innovate and change with the New Media world. Hopefully newspapers will become more competitive as they embrace technology. I wrote an article about this here: http://themediaage.com/?p=21 .

    • Has anyone tried the Flash widget for comparing online news sites? I was stunned by the amount of work they put into it. The 160,000 words I expected — the widget, however, I did not. It’s just the biggest and brashest of several interactive features of the site; for example, one often finds a “Customize This Chart” link underneath a graphic (e.g., of declining circulation).

      As for the Flash That Ate Manhattan, PEJ calls it the Testing Ground, under the Digital Journalism section:

      http://stateofthemedia.org/2007/narrative_digital_testing.asp?cat=3&media=2

    • Andrea Useem

      I was disappointed that the report did not explain why it chose some of the six criteria for evaluating news websites, which were customization, multimedia, participation, branding, depth, economic. Is there data to show that consumers really appreciate “customization,” the ability to redesign the website to fit their needs? How many people actually take the time to do that? Given the discussion about whether Web 2.0 concepts are marketing hype/trend-of-the-minute, I would have expected a Pew project to provide a more indepth analysis.

      Also, I felt the “Digg is democracy in action” description was a bit glib. Digg is democracy in action for an incredibly small segment of society, judging from the overwhelmingly tech-oriented content. It’s funny that the MSM is criticized so much for being “elitist.” Digg also represents the priorities of a small prileged minority, even if the system is open to anyone.

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