The FCC released a year-long study on the state of local accountability journalism and the view is pessimistic, as the Seattle Times reports.
A lot of conversation has come from it, and I hope to add some greater thoughts here on the 40-plus page document. Download it here [PDF]. Author Steven Waldman gave a short presentation at last Thursday’s Aspen Institute roundtable.
Technically Philly is mentioned briefly, but in a section lamenting that what modest successes the Philadelphia market has had in local journalism is having a relatively small numerical impact, in terms of traffic. The report’s premise was defining meaningful impact by those sites that account for at least one percent of a region’s overall traffic.
The broad comScore coverage also allows us to piggyback onto recent in?depth studies of local journalism in the digital age. First, the Institute for Interactive Journalism authored a recent study of the online news ecosystem in Philadelphia. They claim to have identified 260 local blogs, including “about 60 [with] some journalistic DNA in that they report news, not just comment on it” (Shafer 2010). While J?Lab does not provide a full listing of the sites, they single out several as particularly successful examples. Metropolis is an online news outlet staffed by professional journalists with experience in traditional media. TechnicallyPhilly.com focuses on the city’s tech community. Public School Notebook covers Philly schools and local education issues. PlanPhilly.com concentrates on planning and zoning. SeptaWatch.org provides coverage of local transportation. The Broad Street Review provides coverage of the local arts scene. The Philadelphia media market provides the fourth?largest panel in the sample, making it easier to find low?market?reach sites here than it is almost anywhere else. PlanPhilly.com shows up just in the February data, with 7 visitors out of 7967 panelists. None of the other online news sources show up at all.
Read the entire report here [PDF].
Important reading and takeaways:
- FCC report recommends targeting government ads toward local news [Nieman Journalism Lab]
- Less of less: FCC-commissioned report finds a “surprisingly small audience for local news traffic” [Nieman Journalism Lab]
- FCC Report Cites Lack Of Local News, But Has No Ideas To Fill The Gap [paidContent]
- FCC report: Local news in serious decline [Variety]
- FCC report: Net has helped suffocate local news [Cnet]
- FCC report on media warns of decline in quality local news [LA Times]