PublicationsNovember 3, 2006

A Closer Look at Plunging Circulation

The new numbers released this week were bad enough for a newspaper industry that lost nearly 3% of its circulation in the last year. But when you factor in subscriber discounts, the economic picture gets worse. And the industry’s efforts to compensate for decreasing circulation with increasing online readership may not stand up to scrutiny.

PublicationsNovember 2, 2006

Nielsen Starts Watching the Ad Watchers

Nielsen Media Research, the gold standard in the TV ratings industry, has announced that it will release numbers in December that show how many people actually sit through commercials on TV. That new yardstick will affect how much advertisers will pay to air those ads and will very possibly alter the economics of the TV marketplace. And not everyone in the TV business is happy about this.

PublicationsNovember 1, 2006

Not Much Good News in the New Circulation Numbers

The new numbers for the newspaper industry are out, and they show another disheartening drop of nearly 3% in total average daily circulation. But the picture may be more complicated than the first impression. Not all papers are hurting, and many companies have trimmed questionable circulation. The industry also is boasting that, when online readers are included, overall readership is growing.

PublicationsOctober 30, 2006

How Online Users Share the Day’s News

What kind of stories do people like to email to each other? Politics? Sex? PEJ finds the answer is a little of everything. While people liked sharing stories about the Michael J. Fox/Rush Limbaugh battle over stem cell research, they also wanted their friends to know about recipes and a toddler who got stuck in a vending machine.

PublicationsOctober 30, 2006

The Phrase (and Issue) that Won’t Go Away

The White House may no longer use the words “stay the course” to describe its Iraq policy, but the news media keep mentioning them. This past week, the use of “stay the course” and “Iraq” in media accounts more than doubled from the previous seven days, according to Google News. And several other hot-button terms relating to U.S. Iraq policy generated more media attention as well. It seems the issue, by any name, is dominating coverage.

PublicationsOctober 26, 2006

The Vanishing Embedded Reporter in Iraq

After the media complained about lack of access to previous conflicts, hundreds of embedded journalists lived, traveled and reported right alongside US troops at the outset of the Iraq war. Now, three years later, there are barely two dozen embeds left.

PublicationsOctober 25, 2006

Is Election News M.I.A. on Local TV?

A University of Wisconsin NewsLab study of Midwestern TV stations finds that, even in a heated election year, viewers are only getting about a half minute of election coverage per newscast. While some characterize those findings as evidence of a clear dereliction of journalistic duty, the National Association of Broadcasters is crying foul.

PublicationsOctober 25, 2006

Few Runs, Few Hits, Fewer Viewers

Baseball's Fall Classic has not been a hit with TV viewers in recent years. In the last 20 years World Series ratings have fallen by more than 50% so that it now only averages one quarter of the audience of the Super Bowl. And through two games, the 2006 Series is the lowest-rated ever.

PublicationsOctober 23, 2006

Journalists and the Jail Cell

The two San Francisco Chronicle reporters who helped unearth the BALCO steroids scandal are facing possible jail time for refusing to reveal their sources. In the past several decades, more than 20 journalists have been locked up under similar circumstances. But the public seems to take a skeptical view of confidential sources.

PublicationsOctober 23, 2006

The October Surprise Watch

The term traces its origins back to the Iranian hostage crisis that played such a large role in the 1980 presidential campaign. These days, the phrase “October Surprise” is used liberally (and conservatively) to describe almost any dramatic eleventh-hour event that could change voters’ minds. And this year speculation about an October Surprise is surging.