By the numbers, American journalism failed to inform voters

By the numbers, American journalism failed to inform voters. Event-focused reporting is what’s holding understanding back; by only reporting what’s “new”, news organizations are forgoing knowledge for novelty.


Cody Brown January 2, 2011 Reply

love that your blog posts are transforming into tweet size bits.

Daniel Bachhuber January 2, 2011 Reply

🙂 Good observation. That’s partially the point…

steve January 4, 2011 Reply

One could argue that the mass media is focused increasingly on targeting the lowest common denominator to broaden its appeal. So “the market” would seem to have an incentive to make us dumber as a means to grow market share and concentrate the profits generated.

Daniel Bachhuber January 4, 2011 Reply

True. I would also argue often manufacture controversy and disguise it as news in an attempt to increase engagement (see this TechCrunch post or watch CNN to see what I mean). The challenge is with incentives in an advertising-based business model. Because news organizations are most commonly rewarded on pageviews, not their ability to inform their community, they generally pursue content that drives pageviews. Twitter faces a similar problem which will ultimately be its downfall. On a macro scale, there’s a lesson to be had on how incentives guide behavior in a man-made system.

steve January 4, 2011 Reply

Actually I stopped watching CNN during the Clinton administration, so will have to take your word for it.. 🙂
Though I hesitate blaming advertising on the dumbing down of journalism by itself- the web medium itself is oriented to distraction in its current form. News media’s information design patterns don’t seem to have improved much in over a decade- kind of appalling when you think that medium has been mainstream for just a little longer than that.

I hate to point fingers, but the newschannels themselves need to step up beyond just plaintext search and manual linking mechanisms, and need to go just a little more meta to add value to their articles.

Daniel Bachhuber January 4, 2011 Reply

I have to watch the absurdity of CNN every day because it’s on the largest monitor in the newsroom. I know why their viewership is down something like 34% in the last year.

Stijn Debrouwere’s piece “We’re in the information business” is the most important thing I’ve read since I started paying attention to the news industry. It hits the nail square on the head.

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