Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Research shows News unaffected by the Net

The news agenda has not changed and blogs have had little effect on the news. These were the findings of one of the UK's major media research bodies, in the wake of a major and ongoing piece of research. ( see previous post)

Goldsmith's media is internationally renowned so this research involving extensive ethnographic studies and interviews is not to be taken lightly.

In the face of noticeably huge shifts in the way blogs, twitter and web 2,0 have impacted on news, the reality after the research by academics is it's business as usual.

Some noticeable results
  1. Journalists were publishing more across platforms
  2. They were over worked.
  3. Traditional news set the agenda
  4. The mainstream of blogging fed off traditional news
  5. There is no real shift in a paradigm as we've been spurting.
  6. There was no real participatory exchange between public and traditional broadcasters such as the BBC.
The academics expressed surprise behind their research, which yielded equal surprise from the floor.

Any research and its framing has merits and drawbacks.

That is whether one adopts an interpretive(this link looks at wikis) or positivist epistemology.

Equally the methodologies behind the data can vary depending on the frame work of the questions and who's asking. Social Scientists have wrestled with these two polars for as long as they've acknowledged the differences.

It may sound incredulous that the impact of blogs, twitter and readings from the likes of Dan Gilmor, Jay Rosen, Poynter and indeed Charlie Beckett on which the researchers based their premise, count for very less than what we've assumed.

We can't dismiss Goldsmith's research out of hand, but does it require further analytical research? Would the make up of a highly qualified and venerable team make any difference to the outcome?

Would the pool of interviewees and question framing have changed the results from the times they spent with more than 200 journalists and a number of institutions?

Or as the head of the University of Westminster's research Peter Goodwin asked, is this research too early to determine any significant change in the media landscape?

A point that still does not describe what many web 2.0 practitioners see as a shift in the way news is being orientated by technology.

In one way you're damn if you do and don't if you engage in research which marries new and old media.

I'm due at Wemedia in February, and these findings offer new food for thought, at least from a UK perspective.

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