Print is where the news happens: that's the conclusion of a new report published by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.
Taking one week in the life of Baltimore's media--July 16-29, 2009--the research team analyzed six news threads, coming up with figures on where the news was reported first and who repeated it. The result is startling: more than 90 per cent of all "new" news came from print media, while 85 per cent of what was reported in the electronic and other media were essentially repetitions of what had been reported by newspapers.
To some extent this is nothing new. I remember back in my newspaper days in the Bay Area, the TV reporters would hang around to listen to what questions we print journalists asked and then do their stand ups asking the same questions. It was a kind of laziness that made me furious, and it's quite clear that hasn't changed at all.
What has changed is the decreasing resources of newspapers and magazines who consequently have less and less freedom to go looking for the news. This is dangerous for democracy.
This morning all the media here are full of images and words from Port-au-Prince, where an earthquake has brought even more trouble to Haiti. Le Devoir--which has bucked the trend and publishes much seriously researched information--had a picture transmitted by Twitter of the destruction. But don't look to Twitter or many blogs for significant analysis of the aftermath.
Of course, this blog post is part of the same trend, since I read about the Pew Center study in Le Devoir yesterday, and went looking for it on the web. That I could find it easily says a lot about the positive effects of the age we're living in. The negative ones require a lot more thought.