While blogs and social networking sites like Twitter pride themselves on being able to break stories faster than conventional news outlets (as well as often playing the role of citizen watchdogs to the MSM), a new study has found that the actual original reporting produced on the Internet is nowhere close to the amount needed to make up for the gap caused by cuts in traditional journalism.
The study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, funded by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, found that in Baltimore alone, only one-third of the number of stories were being produced from the same number of outlets in 1991. One would hope that with digital media making print obsolete (or at least, inconvenient and expensive), that blogs and online publications would pick up the slack, but unfortunately that’s not the case either:
“Digital-only outlets accounted for just 4 percent of original pieces of reporting: One report came from a local blog, and the other was breaking news disseminated by a police Twitter feed.”
This would concur with an idea floated during the Jay Rosen/Clay Shirky discussion at NYU last month: that the Internet was never meant to replace traditional journalistic sources, but to work as a supplement. If we decry print journalism completely, we’ll not only be losing a valuable resource of news, but nearly all of our original information-gathering stream. Publications as they exist on the Internet now simply do not have the money or man-power to incite long-term, investigative reports or keep journalists embedded overseas the way mainstream outlets can.
Read More: Most original news reporting comes from traditional sources, study finds —Los Angeles Times