September 22, 2011

What's the word?

Community journalists may be wondering what the Project for Excellence in Journalism will say when PEJ on Monday unveils what it terms "groundbreaking research that paints a new, more nuanced portrait than captured before of how people learn about their community." That quote comes from PEJ Director Tom Rosenstiel. He says the research is groundbreaking because of a paradigm shift in methodology of data collection. Instead of the traditional method of simply asking people where they got their news about their community, the researchers took a path less traveled. It wasn't exactly a "Eureka!" moment, but the new approach instead asked people to say where they got their info in 16 different areas, from the all-important weather report (according to Paul Simon, we get all the news we need on the weather report) to where is a good place to eat (that's right, restaurant reviews).

The research of the sublime to the mundane was done with help from Pew's Internet and American Life Project and the Knight Foundation.

"The results paint an entirely different picture of local news than we have seen before, one that pinpoints the role of the newspapers more completely versus television, the internet and even volunteer newsletters and word of mouth," Rosenstiel said. "We can see a whole ecosystem of local news and information. This should help different media understand and communicate their role."

The report can be found here on Monday.

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