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the Internet Electronics and Entertainment Media - Journalism And New Media

million online news web

The Internet has made getting news much more convenient. No longer do Americans have to rustle through a newspaper or patiently wait in front of the TV for the evening news. With the Internet, hundreds of magazines and news sites can be accessed in seconds. According to Madden in America's Online Pursuits, the number of online Americans who visited news sites daily grew from nineteen million people in March 2000 to twenty-nine million people in December 2002. A press release issued by comScore Media Metrix (July 8, 2002) revealed that unique visitors to local news Web sites in many major metropolitan areas in 2002 far exceeded the growth in online population in those areas. From December 2001 to May 2002, for instance, the number of Internet users in the New York metropolitan area expanded by 3%, whereas the number of unique visitors to the New York Post Web site (www.nydailynews.com) grew by 23%. Online periodicals have also been bringing in serious revenue. As Table 5.7 shows, online periodical publishers generated $856 million from Internet subscriptions and $293 million from online advertisers.

Needless to say, such online news sources have led to the continued erosion of newspaper circulation. Cable and broadcast news started the trend in the late 1960s. Most big cities that once had two newspapers could support only one by the turn of the century. As Table 5.5 reveals, the number of newspapers circulated daily dropped from 62.1 million papers to 55.6 million nationwide between 1970 and 2001. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. population over this period grew from 205 million people to 280 million people. Table 5.1 reveals a slightly different trend for books and magazines. Generally, books are difficult to read online, and magazine publishers have been careful not to provide people with free magazine content on the Web. According to the Census Bureau in Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2003, from 1998 to 2001 consumer expenditures for books actually increased by $2 per person. The amount of hours people spent reading books each year, however, declined by eleven hours from 120 hours to 109 hours. The time Americans devoted to magazines dropped six hours during the same period.

High technology has not only changed how newspapers are sold, but also how reporters and writers do their jobs. With the Internet, anyone can feasibly start a publication or web log (blog) and begin reporting on current events or writing commentary. No longer do reporters and writers have to work for a large publishing house or magazine to build a name for themselves. Matt Drudge, for instance, began the Drudge Report Web site in 1997 to report on current events. He was largely responsible for breaking the story of President Clinton's relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky in 1998. In the year ending January 27, 2005, the Drudge Report Web site counted more than 3.2 billion visits. Advanced communications and video technology have also allowed reporters with established organizations to report from anywhere in the world in real time. Embedded television reporters played a big part at the beginning of the Iraq War in March 2003. Armed with night-vision cameras and portable satellite transmitters, they were able to give viewers at home an idea of how the war was progressing as it unfolded.

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