Friday, December 30, 2011

Local papers still dominate in rural areas

Local newspapers remain the dominant source of news in small towns and rural areas, according to the results of a new survey performed by the Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Center for Advanced Social Research and the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism on behalf of the National Newspaper Association.

Overall, 74% of residents of these areas said they read the local newspapers at least once a week, with 48% reading them once a week and 11% reading them every day.

Respondents said they spend almost 40 minutes a week reading newspapers; 83.2 percent said the read newspapers for their news content, and 92 percent said they pay for the newspapers.

Google, Facebook top digital views: Nielsen

Google was the most-visited U.S. Web brand, and Facebook held its lead among social networks and blogs in 2011, according to year-end ratings by the Nielsen company.

Also, smartphones became even more popular last year, making up most of new phone purchases, with Apple as the top smartphone manufacturer and Android as the leading Operating System.

Last year, Google attracted 153,441,000 unique visitors per month, Nielsen said, following by Facebook with 137,644,000 unique visitors per month.

The rest of the top-10 digital sites were, in order, Yahoo!, Bing, YouTube, Microsoft, AOL, Wikipedia, Apple and, according to Nielsen, which reviewed the top online destinations, social media sites, and smartphone devices.

Galesburg daily live-blogs from trial

Police reporter Jennifer Wheeler at the Galesburg Register-Mail may have become the first Illinois journalist to gain access to a state trial court as a blogger when she covered the Nicholas Sheley murder trial there in October.

Wheeler blogged constantly through the proceedings, about every 10 minutes, and attracted more than 1,200 reader/followers at one point, said her editor, Tom Martin, writing in "Presslines" from the Illinois Press Association.

Judge James Stewart granted permission for Wheeler's coverage via the newspaper's web site after the newswoman verbally requested the access.

How TV covers presidential candidates

Evening TV network newscasts about the presidential nominating contests have declined, according to a paper by George Mason University scholars, who found that news outlets often promise to focus on substantive issues and avoid polling numbers, but data show that “horse-race coverage has been dominant in the last three primary campaign cycles: 71 percent of the primary coverage in 2008 focused on the horse race, just slightly below the 78 percent we recorded in 2000 and 77 in 2004.”

Monday, December 19, 2011

No reason to keep ban on cameras in court

Springfield's State Journal Register last week ran this terrific editorial using the time peg of the recent sentencing of convicted ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich to revive the argument to stop excluding news photographers out of otherwise public proceedings in court.

The news peg is the bipartisan bill introduced by Illinois' U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Iowa's Charles Grassley, a Democrat and Republican, respectively.

Their measure "would break the federal court taboo at the top by requiring television coverage of all open sessions of the U.S. Supreme Court. This is the court that makes decisions with profound effects on the entire country, yet it remains the most mysterious body in the American judiciary," the SJR writes.

For his part, Durbin commented, "In a democratic society that values transparency and participation, there can be no valid justification for such a powerful element of government to operate largely outside the view of the American people."

Read the whole piece:

Friday, December 16, 2011

Murdoch seeks restricted Internet

Congress is trying to restrict the Internet, and global media baron Rupert Murdoch last week personally lobbied leaders on Capitol Hill for two measures that supporters say merely combat piracy.

The bills are misleadingly titled the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House, and the Protect IP Act in the Senate.

"Both measures would require Internet operators to police activity online," according top Ryan Grim and Michael McAuliff on The Huffington Post, "and would mandate Internet giants like Google and AOL, and credit card companies, to take down sites that have content deemed to be in violation of copyright rules."

Opponents, including Google, charge that the proposals would be censorship that would stifle innovation and impose higher costs on consumers.