A study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism reveals that 95% of news stories with fresh information came from “old media” and the vast majority of that from newspapers. For all the buzz that social media generates, it’s not time to say goodbye to traditional media yet. The study showed that about two-third’s of original stories came from newspapers, 28% came from TV, and 7% from radio. Digital-only outlets accounted for a measly 4% of original news.
That’s one of the reasons we should be worried about the massive collapse of the newspaper industry. The Baltimore Sun for instance produced 72% fewer stories in 2009 than it did in 1991. The truth is, newspapers have always been the driving force behind investigative reporting and original material in America. While there are plenty of online attempts, so far, the vast majority are only aggregators of news that’s already been presented online.
I have a friend who used to be a producer for a major news network in New York. She told me that our local evening TV news is simply copied off the front page of the New York Times. So even in the age of TV news, it was largely driven by print.
The question now is – as consumers move from newspapers to the online world, who will pay for the investigative reporting? Who for instance, will fund the effort to keep us informed of corruption in government? So far, there are lots of bloggers with opinions (like me), but very few who can afford to dig, research, and investigate important stories.
Any suggestions out there?