The percentage of news and social media communications (these latter communications are actually a type of derivative news, or of news commentary) coverage dedicated to certain categories changes from day to day and year to year, depending upon several important variables. A sampling of these influential variables, in no particular order of significance, would include:
- Cultural, Social, Business, Political, Economic, Technological, Medical/ Healthcare, Entertainment and other topics of interest or concern to readers, presumably because they exert an effect (real or perceived, current or anticipated) upon the readership, and the readers' appetites for information about things thought to be relevant to them will help "sell more papers." (an anachronistic but viable cliche);
- Demographic changes in cultural, intellectual, academic, economic (in terms of disposable personal income and wealth) and other composition factors;
- The exertion of influence, contribution of "editorial" content and advertising and amount of promotion expenditures reflecting the respective agendas and marketing efforts of business, political and social special interest groups utilizing the news media as a bullhorn for messaging;
- The exertion of topical influence and directional (i.e., opinion) bias by the companies which own or control the news media;
- The increase in the proliferation of international commerce, global markets, and the rise in the frequency (coupled with the precipitous decline in the costs) of worldwide social communications/conversational capabilities between individuals and organizations...
The first two and last one of the items bulleted above may be deemed, for analytic purposes, as demand-driven, while the third and fourth items may be considered supply-driven. There are, of course, areas of overlap and of autocorrelation (i.e., cause-and-effect interdependencies) between the two types of drivers.
Note: In using the term drivers, this satisfies a need for some generalization and simplification in the interest of discerning trends and making projections using this information. The distinctions used in this article are my own, but they are not arbitrary.
The other major technological/cultural variable (actually a catalyst) that is apparently too obvious to mention (but I will mention it anyway) is the dramatic increase in citizen journalism in all of its forms. Cyberspace is filled with text messages, emails, social media status updates, publicly-accessible blogs, virtual discussion forums and, of course, VoIP webcam and telephone calls. Skype, Vonage and other providers are making communication and commerce much less expensive, and much more probable between any given parties.
This phenomenon is exerting a powerful and growing influence on each and all of the five bulleted variables above.
Whether reactive or proactive, these myriad bits of information and opinion from diverse, unfettered, outspoken "citizen" sources are accelerating the "climatic" change in the composition and focus of all news media. News travels faster and further than ever before, and media reaction, in the sense of stimulus-response timing, is ever-accelerating. News moves very, very rapidly, and is more widespread and accessible than ever before.
A fine source of media coverage levels or percentages of news communications dedicated to certain topical categories is provided by The Pew Research Center's Project For Excellence In Media ("Year In The News/ State Of The Media") which can be found at http://stateofthemedia.org/2011/year-in-the-news/.
For example, if I compare three news subjects, from two different quarters of 2010 (the fourth and the second), you can see the difference in frequency percentages in three categories. These three categories were deliberately chosen just for the purpose of exaggerating this point.
These short-term variations regarding the coverage of fairly specific (or "hot") topics tend be be very substantial, but not terribly significant from a macroscopic perspective; if we really want to spot serious, meaningful trends, we need to take a look at the coverage of a larger number of generalized and more-broadly categorized topics (nothing as sensational, for example, as BP's ecological catastrophe, which represents more of an aberration than an exemplary trend variable) over longer periods of time.
This adjustment in our trend-spotting approach, i.e., 1) a larger number or matrix of categories; 2) more broadly-defined categories (to avoid the statistical and perceptual distortion associated with coverage of sensationalized items); and, 3) longer expanses of time for making our observations will tend to give us less "news spike hype" and more solid trending and tendencies.
To be continued...
Douglas E Castle [http://aboutDouglasCastle.blogspot.com]
- The Significance of WikiLeaks' Recent Release of Diplomatic Cables (dissenter.firedoglake.com)
- National news media? Yeah, right. (onemanandhisblog.com)
- Prediction: A Paradigm Shift in Social Media Sharing (bjconquest.com)
- Everyone is laughing at the Hurricane Irene Hype (seanmalstrom.wordpress.com)
- R.I.P. Oakland Tribune, Contra Costa Times (newspaperdeathwatch.com)
- Lessons in legal social media from crazy Hurricane Irene reporting (kevin.lexblog.com)
- TIME Magazine Pens Five Page Spread To Convince America Ron Paul Can't Win (infowebstorm.com)
- Are you being served? The decline of politics and journalism (desiremeetstruth.wordpress.com)
- 5 Tips for Getting Media Coverage Using Social Media (hubspot.com)
- Twitter Mania - Case Study: Trend Hunter PRO 2007 Prediction (TrendHunter.com) (trendhunter.com)
- Scott Meis: 15 Marketing & Social Media Trends To Watch In 2011 (slideshare.net)
- Why Political Coverage is Broken | Jay Rosen (pdalbury.wordpress.com)
- Tweeting the Tremor: How a 5.8 Magnitude Quake Felt in 140 Characters (360i.com)
- Digg Launches 'Newswire,' a Social News Curation Tool (mashable.com)
- 11 websites citizen journalists should know about (thenextweb.com)
- An Observation on the Coverage of the S&P Downgrade (outsidethebeltway.com)
- The Top 10 Internet & Search Marketing Trends for 2011 (oraclemarketing.wordpress.com)
- Local TV Newscasts Expanding (nytimes.com)
- New video: futurist conversations: Ross Dawson and Gerd Leonhard on the future of Twitter (mediafuturist.com)
- Where to go for trusted Web coverage of the Libyan uprising (thenextweb.com)
- How "Hyperlocal" News Presence May Boost Your Local Business (pamil-visions.net)
- How Regator Uses Social Media To Beat CNN at Breaking News (mashable.com)
- 5 News Personalization Tools Bring You Only The Stories You Want (mashable.com)
- top 10 bloggers of the world and their earnings..wow! (austinatibile.wordpress.com)
- How we could cover storms (buzzmachine.com)
- The State of the Media: Not Good (time.com)
- How Non-Profit Organizations Are Bolstering Citizen Media Around the World (mashable.com)
- News Values 4 Citizen Journalism (teesdiary.wordpress.com)
- The Sad Decline Of Poynter Media News (lukeford.net)
- The Non-Profit Newsroom is taking over (iflizwerequeen.com)
- 65% of adults use social media (smartbrief.com)
- 5 Ways Facebook Keeps Adversity And Melodrama Alive (allfacebook.com)
- XYDO Brief: The News You Want (technorati.com)
- Social media: The next frontier for journalism (technorati.com)
- General Motors to embark on global media review (smartbrief.com)
- Three Permanent Uber-Variables: Capitalism, Government And Sustainability (theglobalfuturist.blogspot.com)
- 5-Minute Guide to Getting a Job in Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC] (mashable.com)
- KnowAbout.it Filters News and Social Media Streams (nyconvergence.com)
- Mediatracking.com Adds Social Media Monitoring to its Suite of Services (prweb.com)
- Social Media, faster than the speed of light! (scharipaul.com)
- Is journalism as we know it becoming obsolete? (gigaom.com)
- What Social Media Should Be...Original | Part I (pallino1021.wordpress.com)
- Grow A Global Business - Rapidly, Responsibly, Sustainably and Inexpensively - ICS (gicbc.blogspot.com)
- Document: FBI Surveillance Geeks Fear, Love New Gadgets (wired.com)
- Nokia-Siemens Spy Tools Aid Police Torture in Bahrain (wired.com)
- Apple Shake-Up Reinforces Its Media Partner Power (wired.com)
- Pentagon Wants a Social Media Propaganda Machine (wired.com)
- Harvard is most discussed university on Web (losangeles.ibtimes.com)