Tuesday, March 16, 2010

News Media and Deliberation

A new report raises concerns about the media's capacity to strengthen deliberation with solid information instead of opinion:
The notion that the news media are shrinking is mistaken. Reportorial journalism is getting smaller, but the commentary and discussion aspect of media, which adds analysis, passion and agenda shaping, is growing — in cable, radio, social media, blogs and elsewhere. For all the robust activity there, however, the numbers still suggest that these new media are largely filled with debate dependent on the shrinking base of reporting that began in the old media. Our ongoing analysis of more than a million blogs and social media sites, for instance, finds that 80% of the links are to U.S. legacy media. The only old media sector with growing audience numbers is cable, a place where the lion’s share of resources are spent on opinionated hosts. One result may be the rising numbers in polling data that show 72% of Americans feel now most news sources are biased in their coverage and 70% feel overwhelmed rather than informed by the amount of news and information they see. Quantitatively, argument rather than expanding information is the growing share of media people are exposed to today.