The Reuters Institute is shortly to publish a wide-ranging report called What’s Happening to our News? It’s based on interviews with 70 significant players in the British media and quantitive data from a range of sources. The report’s author, Andrew Currah, wrote a piece for Monday’s Guardian summarising the main research findings. First:
News publishers have always had some degree of consumer feedback – but never at the range, intensity and speed that the web makes possible.
He concludes that,
…as newsrooms become more digitally integrated, the flow of data from the web will be faster, more detailed and much harder to ignore. It will put pressure on editors and executives to review the popularity and revenue performance of content, the value of specific journalists and the overall allocation of resources. Already, in the quest for digital success, publishers are being nudged to depart from well-established brand and editorial values. This shift is contributing to the development of a softer and more populist news agenda in the UK, with preference given to topics seen as effective generators of traffic, such as celebrity, entertainment and sport.
To the main report, to find the evidence for this shift. Unfortunately, the report does not contain any quantitive data on the softening of the news agenda in the UK. On page 88 there is the assertion: Continue reading →