February 2, 2010

Little Reporting in the News

8 of 10

A PEJ study found eight out of 10 stories studied simply repeated or repackaged previously published information.

In an in-depth study of the local news in Baltimore, Md., the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism finds there is little original reporting in the “news” people receive. The report, which for one week examined all outlets that produced local news in Baltimore, found that fully eight out of 10 stories studied simply repeated or repackaged previously published information. Stories that did produce new information were nearly all from traditional media (95%), typically newspapers. New media platforms, such as blogs, Twitter and local websites, were for the most part a means for disseminating news from other sources, not breaking new reports. That indicates that the decline of newspapers is not being made up for by social media. During 2009 the Baltimore Sun produced 32% fewer stories on any subject studied in the report than it did in 1999, and 73% fewer stories than in 1991, when the company still published an evening and morning paper with competing newsrooms. Read More