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What Is the State of the News Media, Pew Research Center?

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In case you missed it, last week Pew Research Center released its annual, invaluable State of the News Media report.

The big conclusions may sound familiar: while new digital outlets continue to spring up pretty much every day with the help of venture capital injections, they’re more concerned with earning readers and influence than making money, the vast majority of which is still driven by traditional advertisements in print and on TV.

That said, every major publisher has now embraced branded content (however reluctantly).

Other already-heard-it findings: the socially empowered, share-worthy upstarts (BuzzFeed, Upworthy, blah blah) has worn off on the old guard. Hell, even Gawker’s model has evolved from media critiques to “you won’t believe what happened in Florida this week!!”

We were particularly interested in the section of the report about the changing relationship between news and social media. Some of the conclusions have already prompted stories over the past few weeks and months:

  • While lots of people click on news stories in their Facebook feeds, they don’t go to Facebook looking for serious news
  • The stories that get the most attention on social concern entertainment, local community, sports and politics
  • Engagement is far lower for stories found via social

Here are the points we find most interesting:

  • Twitter never reflects the sentiments of the public at large. While the service is very helpful to see what’s going on in the journalistic community and to track breaking stories, most Americans don’t even have Twitter accounts and even fewer use it regularly. Use great caution when researching Twitter trends and applying them to Joe Public.
  • Those sentiments shift very quickly. Not only do opinions expressed on Twitter not mirror those of the larger public; they’re also more volatile. While most Americans now support same-sex marriage, a majority of comments during the related Supreme Court case were negative. So you can forget the idea that Twitter is yet another extension of that famous “liberal media”
  • Men look for serious news on LinkedIn. The average reader of news on LinkedIn is dramatically better paid, better educated and more likely to be a man aged 30-49 than on any other site.

In other words, join every LinkedIn group you can.

Have you read the State of the Media report? What are your biggest takeaways?

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