The difference between ‘me’ and ‘us’

12 09 2007

According to a US study, a news agenda formulated by citizens would be radically different from that put together by journalists.  Isn’t that stating the bleeding obvious..?  The study, conducted by a wing of the US Pew Research Centre, compared what made the headlines in the mainstream media with that of three user-driven news sources – Digg, Del.icio.us and Reddit.  While mainstream media wrote about the war in Iraq and big political issues, “users were more interested in the release of the iPhone and the news that Nintendo had surpassed Sony in net worth”.

Surely that is the whole point of citizen journalism?  We write about what interests us, individually, rather than trying to represent the mass market.  We then find like-minded individuals and engage with them – actively or passively.  I have very little interest in writing about the war on terror or the race for the White House but I do want to read about it, which is why I read newspapers, watch TV and listen to the radio.

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Maybe this ‘piece of research’ will actually explain that there is still a huge need for mainstream news and that consumer generated media will not kill off old media – as so many have suggested.  Instead, people are adapting how they consume information.  For me, the authority on what’s happening in Iraq may well be the BBC or The Times, but if I want to buy a new phone, I’ll turn to the blogosphere and newsgroups that I know and trust.

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