New study: We’re too busy disseminating news to actually gather it

New study: We’re too busy disseminating news to actually gather it.
We’ve all known that cutbacks in staff are turning news products into a soggy, homogeneous mass, but now comes empirical evidence thereof. The folks at the Project For Excellence in Journalism are releasing the study today, but an advance look provided by MediaDailyNews skims the surface and (hopefully) opens eyes.

Fragmentation has fractured audiences among onetime news media leaders, with the circulation of daily newspapers falling 11 percent since 1990 and TV ratings for evening news and late local news dropping double digits since the 1990s. Growth has occurred in other places, however, particularly among cable and Internet outlets. Today, the study said, too many outlets are chasing a shrinking or at best flat audience with more resources going toward the dissemination of news than collecting or carefully analyzing it. Personnel cutbacks have left their mark on newsgathering, the study said.
The article notes that while news is moving to the Web — and that means easy access and lots of reporting — nobody has figured out how to make money off of it yet. Sigh. We’re so accustomed, in our Modernist world, to think that formulas and logic will produce happiness and wealth. Not so, in a Postmodern world. Nobody is going to “figure out” how to manipulate the Web into a giant cash cow. That’s what caused the original bubble of the late 1990s. The Internet is a bottom-up cultural phenomenon. I think the days of big money journalism are on the wane, and I say, “Thank God.” People will make a living downstream as journalists — and some may make a very good living — but it won’t come from any formula. It’ll be through creativity, hard work, and inviting people into the dance. They will determine who makes money and, most importantly, how.

Update: Here’s the actual report. I’ll write more as I read it. Good stuff.

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