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Research

U.S. media momentarily notices ‘other’ war

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It’s the war the United States started after 9/11 and then forgot – Afghanistan. In fact, coverage of the war in Afghanistan has accounted for less than 1 per cent of American news media content during the past few years, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s News Index. But U.S. news media noticed when 400 prisoners busted out of Kandahar jail earlier in June and have since allocated a little more time and space to covering “the other war.” 
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More journalists forced into exile

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At least 82 journalists were forced to flee their home countries during the past 12 months, a rate of exile that doubles the average recorded since 2001, according to a survey by the Committee to Protect Journalists. Iraq and Somalia were the most-fled countries and escaping threats of violence was the leading cause of exile. Most exiled journalists never return to their native country and most are not able to work in journalism in their new home. Canada is one of the top five destinations for exiled journalists.
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Internet blows past newspapers as source of info for U.S. voters

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As Canadian politicians vie for public attention during
this summer’s federal pre-election campaign, here’s some interesting U.S. data for journalists, politicians and media managers to
chew on: American voters have embraced the Internet as
a source of election campaign information, pushing it past all other forms of
media except television. Also, Internet ad spending by campaigning politicians is lagging behind the movement of voters online, E-Marketer reports.

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Web archive of public policy research launched

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Researchers and others should check out Policy
Archive
, a new searchable, indexed website that hosts public policy
research papers from more than 220 think tanks and research institutes. The
site – created by the Center for Governmental Studies and the Indiana
University Purdue University Indianapolis University Library – has already
collected 12,000 policy and research papers on more than 300 topics, including media
and information
. At the moment, research on the site appears to originate mostly
from U.S. research organizations. However, the site is expected to expand in
future to include work from international sources.

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The American Blogopticon

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Vanity Fair has published a delightfully
visual yet highly functional introduction to the busy American newsy blog scene
.
Media-politics-celebrity blogs are situated in quadrants according to how they
rank along continua of news-opinion content and earnest-scurrilous tone. You
can hover your mouse pointer over each blog for a mini-review and click to
visit the ones you find interesting.

The question is: Will you first visit the extremely newsy and
earnest SCOTUSblog (“Soporific but
essential daily analysis of all things Supreme Court, reported by seasoned
lawyers and journalists”) or the mightily scurrilous and opinionated go fug yourself (mini-review
redacted)?

Liar!


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Researchers explore the geography of online news

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All news is local – that’s a truism of journalism. Does the
Internet change that? Do newspapers expand their notion of community when their
potential readership goes global? Are news nets cast further to attract
a wider readership? Those are among
the questions researchers involved in the Geography of News Project are working
to answer. In an article for J-Source, research director Mike Gasher discusses
the project’s findings so far.

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Canadians losing faith in news media

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Only half of Canadians believe news organizations get their
facts straight and just a third think news is fair and balanced, according to polling data
released by the Canadian Media Research Consortium
(pdf). The results of
the national survey suggest Canadians are less interested in the news and more
dubious about news media credibility than five years ago, when the CMRC
commissioned a similar poll.

Many who have lost trust in traditional news
media are turning to Internet news sources, as are a surprisingly large number
of young people. While Internet users enjoy non-traditional news sources
and features that foster interactivity, the most valued features of online news
are the links that allow users to find more detailed information.

 “People clearly care about accuracy, about discipline, and
about the commitment to quality, and if traditional players tamper with those
principles, clearly the audience is prepared to make them pay a quick price,”
the report concludes. “The real key to success for traditional media could
involve learning a new language – the language of interactivity, of
conversation, of engagement and involvement of the audience. It may also mean
shedding the notion of reporting without opinions. If traditional media develop
websites that offer more than their print or broadcast product by building
larger packages of content that include user-generated material, then the future
may well be much brighter than many of us thought.”


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Study looks at how online Canadians get news

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The average Internet-connected Canadian spends about 2.3 hours a day consuming news and information from a variety of sources, including television and newspapers, according to a new study by the Canadian Media Research Consortium (pdf) based on 1,000 interviews. Asked about “top-of-mind” stories, most respondents reported first learning about them on television. But most who wanted to know sought additional information online. The study also found that while older respondents tended to read text online, younger people preferred online video. The study notes that while television and newspapers continue to be used as news sources, the strengths of these traditional media (newspapers are seen as strong on detail, background and context while television is seen as strong on visuals and live reports) are increasingly also found online.

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More Canadians creating content on the Internet

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A growing number of Canadians are using the Internet to chat, blog and download material, Statistics Canada reports. Internet use in Canada continues to grow but still skews toward younger, educated and higher-income Canadians. E-mail remains the “killer app” but using the Internet to find news, weather, community events and other information historically provided by news media remains popular among Canadians, growing slightly between 2005 and 2007. 
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Use of anonymous sources down at the NY Times

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Use of anonymous sources by reporters at the New York Times has been cut in half since 2004, when the Jayson Blair incident prompted the newspaper to rewrite its sourcing guidelines, reports the paper’s public editor. However, Clark Hoyt also said most unnamed sources were still not adequately described by reporters and the amount of anonymously sourced opinion actually increased.

Anonymous sourcing at the Globe and Mail
Those interested in the issue of sourcing by Canadian reporters might want to read Denise Rudnicki’s recent study of the use of anonymous sources in the Globe and Mail (PDF) during a six-month period in 2005-2006. Rudnicki concluded that anonymous sources quoted by Globe reporters were most often used to insert “colour and comment” and “added little to public discourse.”

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