September 21, 2009

Plethoric Pew-digrions

The Project for Excellence in Journalism over at the Pew Research Center has an interesting article up from earlier in the summer, comparing the responses from the blogosphere and the (American) traditional media to two major news stories back in June.

I'd like, at this point, to reiterate a key point from that last sentence: The Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Now, the gist of the article is that, while the U.S. media led mostly with moderate coverage of the recession and the Holocaust Museum shooting in Washington (followed by — what else? — healthcare reform), the blogosphere was dominated far more markedly by coverage of the Holocaust shooting, and by another story that the U.S. media barely touched: the election of two BNP members to the European Parliament.

Sorry, in case I hadn't made this clear: the article was published by the Pew Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

What's interesting about the article is that, while it might not seem overly surprising that the Europe story got more coverage in the blogosphere (which, naturally, encompasses people all over the world, unlike the U.S. media), the blogosphere coverage actually included a number of U.S. bloggers as well. The reasons why are fairly clear: first, bloggers are more likely to be nutbag extremists, and a good deal of the U.S. response to the election was "Way to go to Europe! Death to liberals!". But second — and the article doesn't really touch on this — bloggers are under more pressure to find "niche" stories that the traditional media doesn't cover. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love a good blog every now and then, but let's be honest: why would you choose to get your news from blogs when four 24-hour news networks and a handful of mainstream news websites, newspapers, etc., are reporting on the same story? No, the role of blogs, it seems to me, is to draw attention to the news stories that the mainstream simply aren't covering.

Of course, that also begs the question: why didn't the U.S. news media cover one of the most controversial European election results since 1933? But I'm not even going to begin to try to answer that right now, because I have a stack of papers to grade and an improv rehearsal to get to.

What I would like to do, though, is draw your attention, once more, to the fact that this article was published by the Pew Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, and also to the following excerpt:
But most of the attention to the EU results came from British bloggers who focused on the election of two members of the anti-immigrant British National Party. . . .

"The BNP winning seats in the European parliament is a bit like the Nazi Party winning a Grammy; nobody quite knows how it happened, no reasonable person thinks it's warranted, and everybody is filled with a sort of horrified curiosity to see what they're going to do with it," analyzed Andrew at Plethoric Pundigrions.
Booyah. Can somebody start paying me to do this now, please?


vinny said...

You can now claim your writing was highlighted by the Pew Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. CV padding is a fine reward. :)

Jamie said...

you rehearse your improvisation?

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