The State of American Democracy

Research-based Analysis and Commentary by the Department of Politics at the John-F.-Kennedy Institute

Pew Center Publishes Report on State of the News Media

How does the American public receive information about political events? The same way most of us do: through the news media, of course. For better or worse, news media play an integral role in defining the topics we think about and the degree of our shared knowledge and understanding of the world. One might go so far as to state that media provide the infrastructure of our collective consciousness. That is why it is so important to occasionally reflect upon what their role is, how they are changing, and what problems they might face.

For the past eleven years, the Pew Center’s Journalism Project has provided extensive information on all of these questions, through their annually published report on The State of the News Media.  The 2014 report was published late last month and, as usual, is a treasure trove of data and statistics for anyone interested not just in the media, but in any aspect of US politics and society. After long years of stark downward trends, turmoil and crisis, this year’s report should provide some slight glimmers of hope for the news industry. New business models are beginning to take hold and various new revenue sources for journalism seem to be emerging. However: not only is most original reporting still being done by still struggling „traditional journalists,“ the report also notes that the somewhat troubling concept of „native advertising“ is on the rise, through which PR and Journalism are increasingly entering into a „Faustian pact:“

„One of the greatest areas of revenue experimentation now involves website content that is paid for by commercial advertisers – but often written by journalists on staff – and placed on a news publishers’ page in a way that sometimes makes it indistinguishable from a news story.“

Meanwhile the ways in which Americans are exposed to, consume and debate news are continuing to change. This is especially evident in the increasing importance of of social networks and citizen journalism, which may also increase tendencies for individuals to stay within digital enclaves and to only be selectively exposed to information.

Anyone working in the fields or intersecting fields of political communication and political science will likely be aware of the report(s) already. So for everyone else: this might not be must-read material, but it is certainly is should-have-a-look-at material, in which case I would recommend the concise overview and subsequent selective exposure to whatever aspect might subjectively seem most important.

Der Beitrag wurde am Montag, den 14. April 2014 um 11:46 Uhr von Curd Knüpfer veröffentlicht und wurde unter The State of American Democracy: Innenpolitik, The State of the Media, Wahlkampf abgelegt. Sie können die Kommentare zu diesem Eintrag durch den RSS 2.0 Feed verfolgen. Kommentare und Pings sind derzeit nicht erlaubt.

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