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The Breakup, Part Three: Who ‘Wins’ The Media Coverage Game?

This is the third and final part of our week-long look at Poynter.org’s Mediawire and JimRomenesko.com, and the differences in traffic, coverage, etc., that they have from one another.

After putting both sites under pretty intense scrutiny for a week, we thought we’d be able to come away with a firm answer of who was doing media criticism better.

But overall, it’s much harder to declare a “winner” than we thought it would be. With the sites so divergent, we’re (almost) glad the separation happened as it did. Romenesko’s focus seems squarely on short items that will get clicks–some of them simply hilarious, though, to be fair, some are yawners. He also receives many more internal memos and other exclusive documents (due to his long track record as the media industry one-man watchdog, no doubt). Romenesko seems to be focusing on speed and scoops, and supplementing those items with fluff here and there; on the other hand, we get the impression that Mediawire is trying to post more items and more thoughtful items, even at the expense of speed. Poynter’s Julie Moos and I didn’t discuss the speed of breaking news during our call, but she did say (as previously mentioned) that Mediawire was trying to do more analysis–and that this was a change put into motion even before Romenesko’s resignation. “Before Jim left, we were making changes to the blog and to the site, and after that [we] continued to make changes,” she said.

The new Mediawire is clearly going in a new direction, with fewer short items and more in-depth pieces. This has gotta be expensive, however, since the site displays bylines from not just Andrew Beaujon but other Poynter staffers as well. Seen from that light, Romenesko’s one-man site is certainly coming out ahead. But the people who follow media industry news would be well-served to subscribe to both sites. The people who vowed never to visit Poynter.org after Romenesko’s resignation (“I’m sure there are some of those,” Moos said) are only doing themselves a disservice. Bottom line: if you’re a journalist, you need both.

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