How has your diet of news been lately? Do you find yourself eating several meals, grazing the rest of the day, but still going to bed hungry for high-fiber news content?
My colleagues at the Project for Excellence in Journalism, whose third edition of the State of the News Media electronic yearbook is released today, have an explanation. While we have an ever-expanding menu of media choices, all that media focuses, repetitively, on an ever smaller set of daily stories. It amounts to a kind of pack journalism in which the herders, especially on national news are too often able “to control what the public knows.”
This year the project’s content analysis was across all media for a single news day, May 11, 2005. It didn’t take long to identify an example of commodified reporting. All three morning shows highlighted a story on a security scare in advance of President Bush’s trip to China. All three interviewed the same lone person, a security expert from Citibank. Read more