How you get information

Looking at the charts, it sorta confirms what I have always felt – that traditional TV and traditional newspapers are quite passe. In 2006, I posed a question to a group of university students (about 70 of them) as how they get information. When asked about if they watch TV news, no one raised their hands. Reading the traditional morning papers – one hand. So, how do you get information/news? Websites, blogs, friends. The new media – however you define it – is what is driving the students’ information acquisition. Perhaps I should ask the same questions to a bunch of students this year and get a sense of how accurate the charts are. #fb


  1. Newspapers
    I get the Guardian Weekly and read it cover to cover every week; it’s the perfect example of how a newspaper ought to be.
    I have a theory that national newspapers are becoming less and less popular because they’re becoming more and more crap. When I’m back in the U.K. I get the domestic, daily version of the Guardian, and find it takes me twice the time at four times the irritation level to read through and isolate the good bits from all the piles of absolute crap. It comes in three or four sections, totalling a near-triple digit number of pages, each day. 90% of this is useless fluff – I recall one particularly egregious piece of crap from the last time I had to read this stuff, last year…a full-page article on what statement the cotton shopping bag you carry makes about you. I mean…for the love of God.
    The GW is 48 pages weekly, with no crap in it, just detailed and insightful articles about topics that are actually important, and a lot of reporting you just wouldn’t get anywhere else. I get really worried about people who seem to think that ‘bloggers’ could ever provide anything close to useful news coverage on many topics, and I think a professional media is absolutely invaluable…but I think the current newspaper industry, internationally, is very much to blame for its own failure. It’s got nothing to do with ‘new media’ or anything like that, it’s because they’ve decided it’s a good idea to produce horrible newspapers in unusable formats full of useless bloat.

    • Re: Newspapers
      Adam –
      Thanks for the comment. I am 100% with you on this. Years ago, when I was in school at Oregon State, the Straits Times was not available in the library and when they introduced the ST Weekly in a tabloid manner, I thought it was worth it. The traditional hundred-page newsprint that they put out on a daily basis is what is keeping the organizations afloat – I am told that the ad-to-news ration is 60:40, sometimes 70:30. This is not the ratio of the weekly, condensed version.
      There is value in any newspaper, if they editorial team wants to make it so. I think the combination of the blogger/twitter worlds will continue to challenge how the newspaper should define itself. They sooner these guys see and rise up to the changed circumstances and challeges, they will continue the decline.

      • Re: Newspapers
        While the old media are indeed unfashionable, the bigger problem is that their business model is in tatters now that advertising is decentralised and webified. So privately-owned media can’t be sustainably funded by ads or subscriptions, but government-owned media suffers from too many inherent conflicts of interest to serve as an effective watchdog. Meanwhile, bloggers can express limitless opinions, but the actual news content of blogs as in primary reporting is normally restricted to places and events that are relatively accessible to them (i.e. blogging isn’t most bloggers’ day job).
        It’s notable that Adam’s example of a proper newspaper, the Guardian, was until recently funded by a trust and now by a company set up with the same public interest purposes. Could this be the only way to go for funding of “hard” news, that is, the kind of news that needs reporters to get into hard-to-reach places like Afghanistan, Somalia, etc, or to get in and ask hard questions of the powers that be (where permitted by law)?

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