Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pew study contrasts citizen sites v. blogs v. sites tied to legacy media

Pew's State of the News Media 2009 survey examines, among other things, "363 journalism sites in 46 markets (145 citizen journalism sites and 218 tied to commercial media)."

Led by professors Margaret Duffy, Esther Thorson, Stephen Lacy and Daniel Riffe the study compares citizen news blogs, citizen news sites, and sites tied to legacy media.

It finds
[C]lear differences between citizen blogs that primarily offer commentary (along with links to already reported information) and a new array of citizen news sites that also do original reporting. The broader citizen news sites were more interactive, more transparent and more likely to use citizen content. Blogs, while easy to create and set up, were much more limited and less open. Even legacy media now surpass blogs in many of the characteristics that citizen media were once supposed to represent.

Among the findings:
  • Blogs were the least the likely to allow citizens to contribute — even to post comments or e-mail the site. The leaders in such interactivity were citizen news sites.

  • Legacy media excelled in creating innovative ways for people to download or receive content.

  • Legacy sites were also the most transparent about their policies and expectations for users.

  • One area where legacy media trailed both citizen blogs and news sites was in providing links within their news stories to outside material. Legacy sites were more than twice as likely as citizen sites to offer no links to outside material.

  • On the other hand, the citizen sites linked to legacy news sites twice as often as legacy sites linked to citizen sites, with the citizen sites using the legacy sites as their “news” source.

The nature of the content on the three types of sites varied fairly sharply. Legacy sites provided the greatest percent of news (89%), close to double that of citizen news sites (56%), and three times that of blog content (27%).

More here.

Wordcloud courtesy of Alfred Hermida

Also see:
"I'll believe in the triumph of citizen journalism when I see it"

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