Online news sources less diverse?

It looks like our local academic community are starting to take the online phenomenon seriously. The Centre for Media Studies have found that the online news industry is using fewer rather than more orginal news sources, so they conclude that it is providing less news, not more. I’ve not read the detailed findings, but the research seems to have to be designed to focus entirely on mainstream online offerings to the exclusion of the kind of informal networks through which many proactive consumers access their news.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • Mark “Dreary” Davenport and Gareth “Flash” Gordon should take note of this! For a long while, I have thought their political commentaries are far from insightful or informative. Seems they are not alone!

  • willis

    Roy Greenslade thinks that the combination of narrow vision and desire for confrontation / balance reduces our oppertunities to understand other views.

  • ulickmagee

    to be honest alot of the offerings on here (including my own) are nothing more than big dick waving. There are two types of people who contribute to here:

    1. the ‘intellectuals’ – supposedly who perhaps because their editor, dean of faculty or their line manager isn’t at all interested in their views decide to populate here with at times pure waffle of the star trek type. Communicating to impress than express. If we are to believe that these characters populate this site then more reason to slate the shite out of them

    2. (includes me) the uninformed who offer comments, views and opinions based on nonsense, flag waving, ultra right wingism, ultra left wingism and just plain stupid

    the point is surely this site is about encouraging commentary but if the same old same old come popping up again and again then it becomes nothing more than a micro version of norn iron media and academia.

    look at the things people comment on here – who gives a fiddlers feck about half the shite on here.

    i defend your right to write it – work out who said that then you’ll understand

  • jone


    I’m not sure how you arrive at the position that a paper called ‘News Agency Dominance
    in International News on the Internet’ supports your view that the BBC NI pplitics staff are a bit duff.

    Surely its simply saying that the news aggregators and most other news sites cover international news by simply punting out loads of AP and Reuters with the Beeb performing marginally better.

    Where to Devenport and Gordon come into it?

  • fmk

    the report is about online *news* – not online *views*. much of what passes for content on the interweb is that writers *view* on a partic news story – usually a news story that has been put out by the mainstream media. few blogs – unless in esoteric niche areas – are generating news. it’s nothing to be ashamed of, yet somehow i feel a lot of bloggers are going to take the cms survey findings as some sort of slight n their “professionalism”.

    on another note, the cms survey fits with a piece i read more than a year ago, suggesting that even mainstream media was cutting back, reducing news gathering resources, such that we might even return to the days when a handful of agencies (reuters etc) collected most of the news.

  • Two words jone…

    No originality!

  • Jo



    I have received an email purporting to come from you. It contained a virus. This may have used your email to attack contributors to Sluuger and/or others in your address book. Please post a warning to other bloggers.


  • Mick Fealty

    Jo, it sounds like a trojan. Can you send me a copy of what you had – text I mean? I would be very surprised if it came directly from me as gmail is my online client for both primary addresses.

    Back to the thread:

    That Greenslade line is remarkably similar to a line of thinking I have been pushing for some time now, as most of the regulars here will know. Going for balance over truth is a certain killer of good journalism.

    Having said that, I have to ask ‘mediaman’ if he read the piece before launching into a pointless personal attack on the Beeb. If not please then see rules of engagement above – ‘who’ is very much not the point here. If you cannot make a point by point argument, then sticking the boot into the man really does not win you the game!

    The research refered to above does not denigrate the quality of online journalism (PA’s online stuff on UTV has policy detail that often gets screened out because the subs need to cut the text for their paper editions). What is suggests is that the online diet for most news consumers is not as diverse as it is reputed to be.

    For my part I don’t believe this is primarily a quantitative issue, but a decidedly qualitative one.

  • Jo

    Hi Mick

    I did try to send but your gmail refused it, the original sending addy was “mick at” Other Sluggers beware!

  • willis

    Ellis Weiner points out how Adolf Hitler spoiled the opportunity to make a decent living as a Right Wing Fundamentalist pundit by getting sidelined with that whole anti-semitism thing. (Contains quotes from Mein Kampf)

  • John Maynard

    You’re all missing the point – which is, when in God’s name did journalism become an academic discipline worthy of research papers from specialist buildings on windswept rebrick campuses?

    UU has some explaining of its own to do here. For example, how many of its ‘media studies’ graduates ever get jobs in the media? As far as I know, almost everyone who works in NI’s newspaper business is a graduate of the far less glamorous but largely vocational journalism course at BIFHE. How can UU compete with that? Does it make the uselessness of its course as a job-hunting qualification clear to all applicants? How much does it cost to have a bunch of failed hacks sitting up at Coleraine staring up their backsides?

    This concept of journalism as a field of academic study is an import from America, where the whole ‘fourth estate’ nonsense gives the media a self-inflated sense of its own importance. It’s a pointless development and one which undergraduates would be well advised to steer well away from.