Is NBC's Brian Williams being replaced by @someguyontwitter?
Voice of America
reports that, according to a new report by the Pew Research
Center, 15 percent of U.S. adults first hear about a news story
on a social networking site. For young people, the number is
almost 25 percent.
While venerable news agencies like CBS (NYSE:
), Comcast (NASDAQ:
) and GE's (NYSE:
) NBC, The New York Times (NYSE:
) and The Washington Post (NYSE:
) have all been forced to lay off reporters and spend less money
on hard news coverage, their websites are more popular than
That's because more and more people are going online for their
news, as opposed to reading the newspaper or tuning in the
nightly news. It's a vicious circle with budget woes forcing
newsrooms to cut staff and coverage, which causes viewers and
readers to look elsewhere, lowering audiences, causing even more
Television news broadcasts, in particular, have been hard hit
with viewership among those under age 30 dropping from 42 percent
in 2006 to 28 percent in 2012.
While many are going online for the news, the advertising
revenue isn't following. Newspapers, in particular, are forced to
ask consumers to pay for their online access.
The Pew report indicates that 450 of the 1380 daily newspapers
in the U.S. say they plan to, or have already, instituted a pay
wall for their online sites.
Two of the three largest papers in the country, The New York
Times and News Corp's (NASDAQ:
) the Wall Street Journal, have pay walls, with the NYT saying it
makes more money from subscription fees than it does from
Although large media outlets also use social media like
) and Twitter to reach out and spread their news gospel,
companies and individuals also have access and the ability to
directly communicate without filtering by journalists or other,
impartial third parties.
The growing importance of social media as news outlets is
reflected in Facebook's recent overhauling of its newsfeed
feature, with the aim of becoming the "personalized newspaper" of
the digital age.
In order for news outlets to maintain and increase Facebook
and Twitter viewership and readership, they will have to compete,
not only with each other, but also with users' friends and
Meanwhile, the influence of "others" in social media on major
news stories and the need for major news outlets to get involved
is, perhaps, nowhere more apparent than in a recent headline on
website. Regarding the Steubenville (Ohio) case against two teens
accused of assault against a fellow student, the headline reads:
"Social Media Helps Convict Teen Rapists."
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