Blogs 'erode print media's advantage'

Traditional news media outlets have all but lost their advantage of being a ‘first mover’ to breaking stories thanks to non-traditional news providers, such as blogs and search engines.

A Harvard study into how the internet is changing where headlines are read says the Web's array of news aggregators and blogs is muscling out some sites run by print media.

The study, which analysed 160 news-led websites, found the print media’s initial advantage of being ‘first to press’ “has all but disappeared,” on both a national and local level.

But reassuringly for traditional media types, the websites of branded newspapers are growing, while the branded news television networks are also seeing increased traffic.

Likewise, websites owned by local television and radio stations continue to report more visitors.

In contrast, websites run by local newspapers are suffering a decline in readers.

The study authors said: “Our evidence suggests that the internet is redistributing the news audience in a way that is pressuring some traditional news organisations.”

Findings from the report, Creative Destruction: An Exploratory Look at News on the Internet, also show the internet is a larger threat to local news organisations than to those that are nationally known.

This is because the Web “reduces the influence of geography on people’s choice of a news source,” meaning it inherently favours “brand names” that readily come to mind, the report says.

However local news organisations do have some clout: there are “brand names” within their communities, and their offline reach can be used to drive traffic to their sites, the authors said.

Ironically, some organisations priding themselves on their coverage of news failed to feature the day’s news prominently on their websites, forgoing their natural
advantage.


 

24th August 2007

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