The Shop Talk panelists discuss the Pew Research Center’s 2013 State of the News Media report.
The study found newsroom staffs are shrinking, as are audiences. The RTDNA pointed out the survey discovered nearly one-third of news consumers have stopped turning to a particular new outlet because they were no longer getting the reporting they were accustomed to.
The Shop Talk panelists are concerned that too many people are now getting information directly from politicians and businesses, which are putting their own spins on events without any vetting. Panelist Lisa Kernek said that cannot be good for democracy.
Panelist Mike Murray wondered if audiences are simply turning to other sources because so many options are now available. But some news sites are simply aggregators, which leads to the question of who is producing the news.
Kernek said the impact of shrinking newsroom staffs can be seen locally in the diminishing quality of the Peoria Journal Star over the past five years. The paper once had a Macomb-based reporter; now it gets Macomb news from fellow Gatehouse publication The McDonough County Voice.
Panelist Rich Egger said while that makes sense in terms of cost-efficiency, it also means there is one less reporter keeping an eye on things.