Thursday, May 3, 2012

New devices, fewer tech companies, and newspapers remain main source: PEJ

The ninth edition of the "State of the News Media" from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism is out for 2012, and it has some predictable findings and some surprises. First, as mentioned in Politico reporter Reid J. Epstein's remarks at April 28's Spring Journalism Day at WIU in Macomb, "the explosion of new mobile platforms and social media channels represents another layer of technology with which news organizations must keep pace." Next, and somewhat unexpected, in the last year a shrinking number of technology corporations started quickly consolidating their power by becoming makers of almost all devices people use in their digital lives. "Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and a few others are maneuvering to make the hardware people use, the operating systems that run those devices, the browsers on which people navigate, the e-mail services on which they communicate, the social networks on which they share, and the web platforms on which they shop and play," the report states. "And all of this will provide these companies with detailed personal data about each consumer." The most surprising finding, however, may be one that defies conventional wisdom about print journalism as sources of information. "More evidence emerged that newspapers (whether accessed in print or digitally) are the primary source people turn to for news about government and civic affairs," the report notes.