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Newspapers: Bad now, but worse to come

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The outlook for newspapers in 2009 is exceptionally bleak, according to a Kubas Consulting survey of more than 400 Canadian and U.S. newspaper executives and managers. The revenue outlook for next year is described as “terrible,” particularly for classified advertising. The only ad sector in which managers expect revenue to increase is online; however, as the study’s authors note, online ads account for a fraction of total revenue. Also, recent quarterly numbers suggest the online sector may peform more poorly than hoped, especially for newspapers, where online ad sales are often tied to print sales through incentive packages. The survey found Canadian managers, about 17 per cent of respondents, were a little less pessimistic than Americans, reflecting a slightly stronger confidence in the Canadian economy’s prospects for next year.
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Visualizing the world of social media

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If you want an update on the rapidly expanding world of social media
and you prefer maps and graphs to textual description and
analysis, we’ve found the right set of
data for you: Check out…
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IN JOURNAL: Journalism

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Titles and brief summaries of selected articles from Jounalism, Dec. 2008, Vol. 9, No. 6, including:

Journalists and the information-attention markets: Towards an economic theory of journalism, by Susanne Fengler, TU Dortmund University and Stephan Ruß-Mohl, Università della Svizzera italiana

Why they wouldn’t cite from sites: A study of journalists’ perceptions of social movement web sites and the impact on their coverage of social protest, by Sonora Jha, Seattle University

Journalism, education and the formation of ‘public subjects’, by David Nolan, University of Melbourne

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News media called least effective medium for advertising

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News media is less effective as a medium for advertising than other forms of media, according to a study produced by U.S. marketing research firm Experian Simmons. The study, which tracked consumer interaction with 1,000 different television, web and print media properties, found consumers were less likely to buy products advertised through news media compared to other forms of media and were also less inclined to view such products as “high quality”. However, the study also found consumers gave high ratings to the news media they use regularly on measures of trust and social interaction (whether they talk to others about what they saw or read).

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IN THE CJMS: Gender politics in child care reporting, news media portrayal of Muslim women and more

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The November 2008 issue of the Canadian Journal of Media Studies (Vol. 4, No. 1) includes several articles of interest to the journalism community, including:

Baby Talk: How gender issues affected media coverage of the child-care debate in the last federal election by Dianne Rinehart, Carleton University
Child-care issues have traditionally been covered by female social affairs journalists in Canada, not political beat reporters – who are overwhelmingly male. This paper looks at what happened when a child-care platform became the main issue in the 2006 federal election campaign, and how and why the media failed to analyse its shortcomings.

The Weak, the Powerless, the Oppressed: Muslim women in Toronto media by Ashifa Kassam, York University
After years of invisibility, Muslim women are now the focus of considerable media attention. But what is the coverage saying about Muslim women in Canada? This paper examines coverage of Canadian Muslim women in mainstream Toronto media and, in particular, media coverage of the Ontario government’s decision about whether Islamic law, known as Shari’a, should be allowed in the province. It argues that the coverage stripped Muslim women living in Canada of plurality, diversity and agency.

Rethinking Journalism as a Profession by Paul Godkin, Conestoga College
There is no significant body of theoretical knowledge considered vital to the practice of journalism. So, can other standards of competency substitute for this esoteric knowledge? Could the standard of theoretical knowledge be expanded to recognize professional competency instead? Doctors and lawyers cannot practice without a firm grasp of the theory underlining their profession. A key to defining a profession then is no doubt establishing an understanding of what professional practice means in terms of knowledge and competency.

Lynch Mob: Pack journalism and how the Jessica Lynch story became propaganda by Peter H. Martyn, Carleton University
The arc of U.S. media coverage of the Jessica Lynch story, from an exercise in follow-the-leader patriotism through qualified questioning to outright skepticism, is well known. This paper re-examines the coverage of this early “hero” of the war in Iraq through the lens of classical propaganda theory and recent psychological studies that suggest repeated denials may actually increase the residual credibility of false information in the minds of many members of the public.

Journalism in a Violent World by Cliff Lonsdale, University of Western Ontario
A report from the inaugural conference of the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma

Continue Reading IN THE CJMS: Gender politics in child care reporting, news media portrayal of Muslim women and more

‘Extreme enthusiasts’ dominate online comments

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Participation in online discussion and comment sites is dominated by less than 10 per cent of web users, according to a study published by U.S. consulting company Rubicon.

The study, based on a survy of more than 3,000 web users, found 80 per cent of User-Generated Content (UGC) was created by just nine per cent of users. The remaining 20 per cent of UGC was created by about 65 per cent of users who contributed content only occasionally. Another nine per cent only read user-generated material and 17 per cent ignored it completely.

These findings may disappoint managers of news sites who hope allowing reader participation will generate more interest in the news. However, compared to earlier estimates, this study may signal that user participation on the web is growing. The report also notes that online participation attracts certain population segments – young people in particular – more than others

Full report from Rubicon Consulting (PDF)


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Social network created for journalism researchers

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Paul Bradshaw – a British journalist, university lecturer and author of the Online Journalism Blog – has created a social networking site for journalism researchers. “It’s an attempt to provide a way for journalism students and academics to get in touch with others researching the same area, exchange ideas and tips, and ask for help on everything from finding relevant literature to sourcing contacts and the best research methods,” Bradshaw writes. “Research is traditionally a solitary, frustrating endeavour. It doesn’t need to be.” More than 100 people from a variety of countries have joined the site as of this posting.

Check it out at: http://onlinejournalismresearch.ning.com/
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Study detects ideological bias in U.S. cable campaign news

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In a study that is sure to surprise nobody, the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism reports that Fox news presidential campaign reporting tends to favour Republican candidate John McCain while MSNBC reports favour Democrat Barack Obama. CNN, on the other hand, strikes some sort of balance by being equally negative about all candidates. The traditional network news programs were more neutral in their coverage, though NBC was kinder to Sarah Palin than most of the press. The study, The Color of News: How Different Media Have Covered the General Election, is a companion study to last week’s Pew overview of campaign reporting (see post below), which found press coverage generally favoured Obama.
Continue Reading Study detects ideological bias in U.S. cable campaign news

Sorry Mr. McCain, but the media hates a loser

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News coverage of the U.S. presidential election is noticeably more negative in tone toward Republican candidate John McCain compared to coverage of Democratic candidate Barack Obama, according to a study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

A team of researchers coded stories for “tone” during the six weeks between the end of the Republican convention and the final presidential debate. While the amount of coverage was split equally between the two candidates, coverage of McCain was deemed to be 57 per cent negative and only 14 per cent positive (the rest were neutral) while stories about Obama were 36 per cent favourable and only 29 per cent negative.

Although American conservatives may see this as more evidence of “media elite” liberal bias, the study’s authors suggest that’s not it. Since most of the news coverage (53 per cent) focused on horse-race issues like strategy and polling, rather than policy (22 per cent), story tone inevitably tended to favour the horse in the lead.

Winning the Media Campaign: How the Press Reported the 2008 General Election (PDF)


Continue Reading Sorry Mr. McCain, but the media hates a loser

Readers supplant editors when journalists blog, study suggests

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Journalists who blog become more responsive to story ideas provided by readers and less reliant on assignments from editors, according to Paul Bradshaw of the Online Journalism Blog. Bradshaw, who is also senior lecturer in online journalism and magazines at Birmingham City University’s School of Media, analyzed 200 responses from journalists who voluntarily completed a questionnaire about how blogging affects their work. Other findings about journalists who blog:

  • They access a wider list of sources and become less dependent on government, pressure groups, public relations firms and “diary events” for stories.
  • They post often and quickly, relying on readers to alert them to mistakes and missing or unclear information.
  • Print-based journalists are more likely to gather and publish multimedia material and broadcast journalists are more likely to gather and publish  material beyond what is required for traditional radio or television newscasts.
  • They publish stories and information that would not be considered for publication or broadcast in traditional journalism formats.
  • They develop a more personal “voice,” writing in a looser, less formal and more compact style.

For more results and information about survey respondents, see Blogging Journalists, Parts 1-4.

Continue Reading Readers supplant editors when journalists blog, study suggests

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