The Columbia Journalism review and Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism have both released two dense reports on digital journalism and habits of those that navigate the news, respectively. I haven’t been able to get through both in their entirety, but judging by their overviews and executive summaries they both contain a wealth of information for anyone in the online journalism business.
The Business of Digital Journalism from the Columbia Journalism Review is a weighty 140-page report by CJR Dean Bill Grueskin, Prof. Ava Seave and Ph.D. candidate Lucas Graves. The report is conveniently broken down into nine chapters that examine different areas of the digital journalism business such as niche sites, aggregation and traffic patterns.
From the Conclusion:
Here’s the problem: Journalists just don’t understand their business.”
That’s the diagnosis from Randall Rothenberg, a former New York Times media reporter who heads the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade group representing publishers and marketers.
Whether or not you agree with his sweeping characterization, it’s clear that many sectors of the traditional news industry have been slow to embrace changes brought on by digital technology. They also have been flummoxed by competitors who invest minimally in producing original content but have siphoned off some of the most profitable parts of the business.
Navigating the News Online from Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism looks at the way online news consumers are finding the content they want to see and the value of aggregation services and social networking sites. Again, there’s a lot to get through but it is great chunk of research for any online journalism organization that is trying to leverage the various avenues readers have to find their content online.
From the Summary:
Overall, the findings suggest that there is not one group of news consumers online but several, each of which behaves differently. These differences call for news organizations to develop separate strategies to serve and make money from each audience.
The findings also reveal that while search aggregators remain the most popular way users find news, the universe of referring sites is diverse. Social media is rapidly becoming a competing driver of traffic. And far from obsolete, home pages are usually the most popular page for most of the top news sites.
I’m looking forward to reading them in full later this week when I can carve out the time. Both reports are available as PDFs.