Um estudo que qualquer investigador da área do jornalismo e dos media certamente gostaria de fazer: analisar o que se está a passar numa dada cidade importante, do ponto de vista da origem das notícias e dos canais através dos quais a actualidade informativa chega aos cidadãos e, em termos mais gerais, como está a funcionar o ecossistema noticioso, com as mudanças ocorridas nos últimos anos. Foi isso o que fez o Project for Excellence in Journalism, tomando a cidade de Baltimore, nos Estados Unidos da América, como caso de estudo e analisando-o durante uma semana.
A principal conclusão, embora porventura esperável: ainda é através dos media tradicionais, e em especial pelos bastante reduzidos jornais locais que o público fica a saber o que se passa.
Outras conclusões do estudo “How News Happens: A Study of the News Ecosystem of One American City“:
- The network of news media in Baltimore has already expanded remarkably in recent years(…): 53 different news outlets that regularly produce some kind of local news content, a universe that ranges from blogs to talk radio to news sites created by former journalists.
- Among the six major news threads studied in depth, fully 83% of stories were essentially repetitive, conveying no new information.
- General interest newspapers like the Baltimore Sun produced half of these stories—48%—and another print medium, specialty newspapers focused on business and law, produced another 13%.
- Local television stations and their websites accounted for about a third (28%) of the enterprise reporting on the major stories of the week; radio accounted for 7%, all from material posted on radio station websites. The remaining nine new media outlets accounted for just 4% of the enterprise reporting we encountered.
- Traditional media made wide use of new platforms. (…) Almost half of the newspapers stories studied were online rather than in print.
- There were two cases of new media breaking information about stories. One came from the police Twitter feed in Baltimore (…). Another was a story noticed by a local blog, that the mainstream press nearly missed entirely(…).
- As the press scales back on original reporting and dissemination, relaying other people’s work becomes a bigger part of the news media system. In the detailed examination of six major storylines, 63% of the stories were initiated by government officials, led first of all by the police.
- There is other evidence, however, that the output of the papers is diminished. (…)