Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ding, dong old media’s dead … or is it?

Can you almost hear the munchkins cheering “ding, dong old media’s dead,” as the whole world declares the proverbial bucket of water has been dumped and old media is “meeelllttting, I’m melllting” – I digress. Think again. According to a recent article on “Fast Company,” researchers at Cornell have found that traditional news outlets still lead the blogosphere by 2.5 hours when it comes to breaking news. That’s almost light years by web standards. So, before we get ready to dump water on old media and watch it melt away, maybe we should take a step back and look at how old and new media are and will continue to work together. Here’s a breakdown of the Cornell study:

- Instead of examining a few case-study pieces of news and making behavioral conclusions from limited cases, researchers used a powerful algorithmic search. 1.6 million mainstream media and blogs were analyzed in real-time
- Specific phrases were sampled from each site and compared to how they appeared elsewhere – kind of a text-based fingerprint
- By comparing where these “fingerprint phrases,” or memes, first surfaced, and then watching for them to pop up elsewhere online, the Cornell team has uncovered how news propagates online
- The main result: It's still the traditional news portals that tend to break the news. Blogs followed up the stories an average of 2.5 hours later
- In 3.5 percent of the cases news broke on blogs first, before later being picked up by the news sites. Indicating an increasingly professional blogosphere

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