Fun for News Junkies: 200 Moments that Transformed Journalism and State of the News Media 2010

By Kathlin Sickel

What interesting times these are for journalists and media professionals:  from the flowering of such Internet-based communication systems as Craigslist and Wikipedia early in the last decade, to the 2009 introduction of Foursquare and the Nook—and in between the emergence of the Blackberry, Second Life, Google News, MySpace, YouTube, iPhone, and, well . . . just so much more. There’s no missing the fact that we’re living through an era that is transformative for much of the world as we know it, and in particular, for the spheres of news and information.

The wonderful, always-educational Poynter Institute has just introduced a new interactive graphic that tells the story of this transformation, by focusing on 200 key moments that occurred in technology and news through the last decade. In addition to new developments in technology, these are moments that witnessed the growth of some new business models and the failure of old ones, the adoption of new tools for journalism, and the creation of social media as a news provider.

Poynter’s “200 Moments that Transformed Journalism, 2000-2009,” is an interactive display that is easy to navigate and understand. It very clearly shows the steady growth throughout the decade of  Internet use, blogging, social bookmarking, mobile phone use, texting, and—at the end of the decade—the beginning of entrepreneurial, digital journalism. Of course, it shows too, the corresponding losses the decade delivered to newspapers, and the newspaper industry’s struggles to survive, even if in altered form.

In addition to showcasing the online products and services that have emerged, this graphic tool includes quotes from some memorable writing about the transformation, as it proceeded, from Dan Gillmor’s, “Here Comes We Media” in Columbia Journalism Review (2003) to Clay Shirky’s “Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable” in March 2009.

By consuming this volume of information year-by-year, you can digest a lot of recent history quickly. Poynter’s Dave Shedden, who chose the 20 significant selections for each year, is calling the decade that just ended the most significant one, ever, in the history of the news media. Shedden is the director of Poynter’s library, and the organizer of a host of online resources tracking the history of all things related to the news media.

His project is a collaborative one, and Shedden worked with Poynter technology fellow, Dave Stanton, and visual journalism instructor Sara Quinn to produce “200 Moments.”  But the items selected are all Shedden’s choices, and he and Poynter faculty member Bill Mitchell both stress that suggestions for other inclusions are both welcome and encouraged in the comments, following Mitchell’s article
introducing this new Poynter feature
.  “Stay tuned,” Shedden wrote in a comment of his own, “we hope these 200 moments are just the beginning of the conversation.”

As engaging as the new Poynter graphic is, real diehard news-biz junkies will enjoy it, but want more. For them, there is the latest annual state of the media report from the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism.

State of the News Media 2010 is the seventh of these comprehensive, data-filled annual reports.  Each of eight sectors of the news industry, such as newspapers, magazines, local TV news, cable TV news, etc., are thoroughly studied for performance and reported on, in five key areas – audience, economics, newsroom investment, ownership and digital journalism.

In its inaugural edition in 2004, the PEJ authors asserted “that journalism is in the midst of an epochal transformation, as momentous problably as the invention of the telegraph or television.”  By the 2007 report, the unfolding changes were identified as being of the magnitude of those wrought by the printing press itself.

In addition to the core structure of the report, repeated each year, the 2010 version is rich in special features. There are two highly interactive specialized databases—A Year in the News, and Who Owns the News Media. There are also five special sections, including a look at religion in the news and a survey of community journalism websites.

There is so very much information, data, and analysis in this State of the News Media report and its predecessors, it is hard to imagine ever exhausting them. But if by some chance you are one who read the entire report when it was released in March, it is still worth another look. A special section was added in April that examines a survey of news executives on the changes they see in the fundamental values of journalism, the effect of newsroom cutbacks, and what they see as their most promising revenue options.

Finally, before the end of the year, there will be more reports on the present and future of the news media. The FCC is promising to add its own  “clear, precise assessment of the current media landscape.. .”    It has invited public comment (the time period for doing so closed last week), and is also looking at nearly 150 existing studies when considering how to make its own.

“A Collection of Studies on the Future of Media” lists these studies and provides links to the majority of them. It was the very first post to the blog on the FCC’s Future of Media website, and one wonders, glancing through these, will the FCC be re-inventing the wheel when they put together one more study?

Not surprisingly, two of the studies listed are the PEJ reports from 2009 and the 2010 (State of the News Media). “And yes,” said Rick Edmonds, one of the authors of every PEJ report, “the FCC will be calling on the work already done.”

Kathlin Sickel is a freelance writer living in Green Bay, currently writing online at Suite101.com, and is WisReader on Twitter.  She graduated from Marquette’s College of Journalism and worked for newspapers in Ohio before the digital age.

4 Responses to “Fun for News Junkies: 200 Moments that Transformed Journalism and State of the News Media 2010”


  1. 1 Dave Stanton May 21, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Thanks for the kind words. Glad you enjoyed 200 Moments. We’re thinking about how we can extend it.

  2. 3 BB themes May 21, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Nice blog, i like it, its informative,
    i will visit his blog more often.
    i like your article specially about
    Fun for News Junkies: 200 Moments that Transformed Journalism and State of the News Media 2010

    Cheers


  1. 1 Tweets that mention Fun for News Junkies: 200 Moments that Transformed Journalism and State of the News Media 2010 « Communicate: The Diederich College of Communication blog -- Topsy.com Trackback on May 21, 2010 at 3:13 pm

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The opinions expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of Marquette University or the Diederich College of Communication.

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