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The American Press and the Challenges of Politics and Technology


Newspaper Narcissism. Our pursuit of glory led us away from readers
Walter Pincus
Columbia Journalism Review May/June 2009 Online edition
Pincus critizes the approaches of journalists and editors to their products - the newspapers.
" My profession is in distress because for more than a decade it has been chasing the false idols of fame and fortune. While engaged in those pursuits, it forgot its readers and the need to produce a commercial product that appealed to its mass audience, which in turn drew advertisers and thus paid for it all. While most corporate owners were seeking increased earnings, higher stock prices, and bigger salaries, editors and reporters focused more on winning prizes or making television appearances."
Walter Pincus is a journalist of the Washington Post.

Newspaper Face a Challenging Calculaus
Pew Research Center, February 26, 2009
" The trend is unmistakable: Fewer Americans are reading print newspapers as more turn to the internet for their news. And while the percentage of people who read newspapers online is growing rapidly, especially among younger generations, that growth has not offset the decline in print readership..."

Overload! Journalism’s battle for relevance in an age of too much information
Bree Nordenson
Columbia Journalism Review, November/December 2008, v47, #4, pp30-37
"In 2007, as part of the third round of strategic planning for its digital transformation, The Associated Press decided to do something a little different. It hired a research company called Context to conduct an in-depth study of young-adult news consumption around the world... Chief among the findings was that many young consumers craved more in-depth news but were unable or unwilling to get it."
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Joseph Epstein
Commentary, January 2006, v121, #1, pp46-51
"Statistics on readership have been pointing downward, significantly downward, for some time now. Four-fifths of Americans once read newspapers; today, apparently fewer than half do. Among adults, in the decade 1990-2000, daily readership fell from 52.6 percent to 37.5 percent. Among the young, things are much worse: in one study, only 19 percent of those between the ages of eighteen and thirty-four reported consulting a daily paper, and only 9 percent trusted the information purveyed there; a mere 8 percent found newspapers helpful, while 4 percent thought them entertaining. From 1999 to 2004, according to the Newspaper Association of America, general circulation dropped by another 1.3 million. Reflecting both that fact and the ferocious competition for classified ads from free online bulletin boards like, advertising revenue has been stagnant at best, while printing and productions costs have gone remorselessly upward."
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Online News
John B. Horrigan
Pew Internet and American Life Project Report, March 22, 2006, 27p
"For many broadband users, the internet is a primary news source. By the end of 2005... 50 million Americans got news online on a typical day, a sizable increase since 2002. Much of that growth has been fueled by the rise in home broadband connections over the last four years. For a group of "high-powered" online users - early adopters of home broadband who are the heaviest internet users - the internet is their primary news source on the average day. "
John B. Horrigan is Associate Dean for Research at the Pew Internet & American Life Project. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Government at the University of Texas.

What Americans Know: 1989-2007. Public Knowledge of Current Affairs Little Changed by News and Information Revolutions.
Pew Research Center, April 15, 2007

Where's the Multimedia in Online Journalism?
Mike Cuenca
The Journal of Electronic Publishing, September 1998, v4, #1
In his article written in 1998, Cuenca claims that development of true multimedia-journalism content for the World Wide Web has been slow. "What we put on the Web is not new. It is words and pictures. We've been generating words and pictures for many hundreds of years. […] The Web is a medium in continual transition. Newspapers have yet to catch up to multimedia, even though that isn't new either. The Web's most advanced and technologically up-to-date presentation is only a slowed-down and adapted version of old-fashioned multimedia." Cuenca advises publishers to decide what kind of presence they want and can handle. "If print publishers don't make those shifts in thinking and approaching news-content production and delivery, the traditional broadcast media will easily capture the online-journalism viewers.
Mike Cuenca is an assistant professor at the University of Kansas' William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications.;view=text;rgn=main;idno=3336451.0004.111

The Future of American Press: Print and /or Online

Handheld Headlines
Emmett, Arielle
American Journalism Review, August/September 2008, pp24-29
"News organizations are embracing content aimed at cell phones and other mobile devices as part of their survival strategy in the digital age."
Arielle Emmett, a former Temple University journalism professor, is studying for a Ph.D. at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland.

The Changing Newsroom
Pew Research Center Project's for Excellence in Journalism, July 21, 2008
The overview about the changing world of newpapers is based on face-to-face interviews conducted at newspapers across the country and a detailed survey of senior newsroom executives. More than 250 newspapers participated in the project which is "an attempt to document and quantify cutbacks and innovations that have generally been known only anecdotally".

Blogging Between the Lines
Dana Hull
American Journalism Review, December2006/January 2007, online edition
The mainstream media have fallen in love with blogs, launching them on everything from politics to life in Las Vegas to bowling. But does the inherent tension between the blogosphere's 'anything goes' ethos and the standards of traditional journalism mean this relationship is doomed?
Dana Hull is a reporter at the San Jose Mercury News.
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By the Numbers
Jube Shiver Jr.
American Journalism Review, June/July 2006, v28, #3, pp32-37
"Television has always relied on ratings to know what people are watching. Now newspapers can get statistics showing which stories on their Web sites attract the most attention. Will those numbers heighten the tabloidization of America's newspapers? "
Jube Shiver Jr. is a former Washington correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.

Cross-Media Publishing by U.S. Newspapers
Andreas Veglis
The Journal of Electronic Publishing, Vol.10, No. 2, Spring 2007
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Emerging Media Reshape Global Society
Dale Peskin and Andrew Nachison
Electronic Journal of Department of State, March 2006

Examining the New Influencers: A Self-Presentation Study of a A-List Blogs
Kaye D. Trammell and Ana Keshelashvili
Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Winter 2005, pp.968-982
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Is Internet Content Different after All? A Content Analysis of Mobilizing Information in Online and Print Newspapers
Lindsay H. Hoffmann
Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Spring 2006, pp.58-76
In her study, Hoffman makes comparisons between the content of print newspapers and their online counterparts, focusing on the presence of mobilizing information (MI), information that aids people to act on pre-existing attitudes. Noting the argument that newspapers are not providing MI to citizens and therefore are hampering the electorate's ability to be politically active, she tests the assumption that online newspapers will have more MI than print newspapers. Hoffman compared six major U.S. newspapers and their corresponding online sites on a multitude of elements. Results revealed that print and online newspapers are not significantly different in terms of the amount of mobilizing information. The study suggests that online newspapers provide content that simply reinforces print content, in doing so the findings counter the assumption that online newspapers have more mobilizing content than print. Hoffman provides a thorough discussion of the implications of these results.
Lindsay H. Huffman is a Ph.D. student in the School of Communication at Ohio State University.
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Media Predictions - TMT Trends 2007 (Technology, Media & Telecommunications)
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Technology, Media & Telecommunications Industry Group, 2007, 24p This annual review of media trends highlights the effects of digital and online services and user-generated content on the media landscape. Predictions for 2007 cover: "the commercialization of social networks and user-generated content; the disparity in metrics used to quantify new media and traditional media; opportunities in China's media sector; the growth of real economies within virtual worlds give forms; the long tail's alternative forms; the immediacy of VOD to PCs; public participation in television programs; the growing symbiosis between online publications and paper sources and finally the cost of free media."

Newspaper Recreate Their Medium
Brian L. Steffens
Electronic Journal of Department of State, March 2006
The author points out that newspapers have a long history of adapting to technological and market change. Even small community newspapers are flourishing in a new technological age that allows them to provide coverage of local events with detail and delivery speed that they've never had before. The Internet has made it possible for newspapers to report up-to-the-minute news 24 hours a day on their Web sites, frequently with more content and photographs than in the newspaper itself. However, Steffens argues that newspapers will "continue to offer unique-value propositions that ensure their long-term future even as they change to encompass new forms of presentation and distribution. Newspapers remain the only medium that is primarily news; information that is usually verifiable, accurate, fair and in search of truth."
Brian L. Steffens is executive director of the National Newspaper Association (NNA). Mr. Steffens is also an adjunct associate professor of journalism at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Online Papers Modestly Boost Newspaper Readership. Maturing Internet News Audience - Broader than Deep. Pew Research Center Biennal News Consumption Survey
Pew Research Center July 30, 2006
Today, nearly one-in-three Americans regularly get news online. But the growth of the online news audience has slowed considerably since 2000. For the most part, online news has evolved as a supplemental source that is used along with traditional news media outlets. It is valued most for headlines, accessibility, and convenience, not detailed, in-depth reporting. The biennial news consumption survey by the Pew Research Center finds that the audience for online news is fairly broad, but not particularly deep. People who say they logged on for news yesterday spent 32 minutes, on average, getting the news online. That is significantly less than the average number of minutes that newspaper readers, radio news listeners, and TV news viewers spend with those sources. The survey finds that newspapers, which have seen their audience decline significantly, are now stemming further losses with the help of their online editions. The rise of the internet has not increased the overall news consumption of the American public. Local and community news continues to be the biggest draw for newspapers while public interest in international news and news about the situation in Iraq has declined since the spring of 2004. In addition, public interest in national political news is not as great as during the presidential campaign of two years ago.

Press and Politics

Whatever Happened to Iraq?
Ricchiardi, Sherry
American Journalism Review, June/July 2008, pp20-27
Americans and the American press have lost interest in the Iraq war, says Ricchiardi; coverage has dropped dramatically, both on television and in print. Iraq has been shoved out of the headlines in part because of the U.S. economic downturn and the contentious presidential primaries. In addition “war fatigue” has set in: the accounts of suicide bombings and brutal sectarian violence are repetitive and hard to translate to U.S audiences. In addition, keeping correspondents on the ground in Baghdad is getting to be too expensive for many news agencies.
Sherry Ricchiardi is an AJR senior contributing writer.

Left Behind. The Skewed Representation of Religion in Major News Media, Special Report
Media Matters for America, May 2007

Misperception, the Media and the Iraq War
Steven Kull
The PIPA/ Knowledge Networks Poll, October 2, 2003
" From January through September 2003, PIPA/Knowledge Networks conducted seven different polls that dealt with the conflict with Iraq. Among other things, PIPA/KN probed respondents for key perceptions and beliefs as well for their attitudes on what US policy should be."
This project was a
joint program of the Center on Policy Attitudes, the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland, and the Californian firm Knowledge Networks.

The Times and Iraq
New York Times, May 26, 2004

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First Amendment Issues/ Freedom of the Press

Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
Cohen, Henry
Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report, Updated March 17, 2008, 44p
"The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that 'Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…' This language restricts government both more and less than it would if it were applied literally. It restricts government more in that it applies not only to Congress, but to all branches of the federal government, and to all branches of state and local government. It restricts government less in that it provides no protection to some types of speech and only limited protection to others. This report provides an overview of the major exceptions to the First Amendment — of the ways that the Supreme Court has interpreted the guarantee of freedom of speech and press to provide no protection or only limited protection for some types of speech." Henry Cohen is an Legislative Attorney at CRS' American Law Division.

On Behalf of Journalism: A Manifesto for Change
Geneva Overholser
The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, October 2006, online edition, 24p
In 1947, the Commission on Freedom of the Press - familiarly called the Hutchins Commission, after the University of Chicago president Robert Hutchins who led it - found that the press was failing society in myriad ways. Today we face similar problems. "Journalism as we know it is over. New models are emerging fast. But they are attended by serious questions: What exactly are the elements of mainstream journalism that must be preserved? In the new, emerging models, who will pay for that journalism? And how, during the transition period, can we ensure that journalism in the public interest survives?"

The Pentagon Papers: Secrets, Lies and Audiotapes
National Security Archive
"This Electronic Briefing Book features, for the first time published anywhere, the audio and transcripts of Nixon’s first recorded conversations on June 13, 14 and 15 after publication of the Pentagon Papers began. The Nixon Presidential Materials Staff at the National Archives and Records Administration formally opened these conversations in the October 5, 1999 release of 3646 conversations totaling approximately 443 hours of Nixon tapes".
The National Security Archive is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University. It collects and publishes declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.


Guidelines for e-Journals

Initiating and Editing an Online Professional Refereed Journal
Genevieve Brown and Beverly J. Irby
Journal of Electronic Publishing, v8, #1, August 2002;view=text;rgn=main;idno=3336451.0008.106

Northern Star Newsroom Manual. Opinion Pages
Northern Illinois University
The Northern Star is the student publication of Northern Illinois University.


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Created: July 2007 - Last update: June 2009