Pew's Project for Excellence in Journalism has just released State of the American News Media, 2007: Mainstream Media Go Niche.

If news coverage matters to your nonprofit, and your role involves scratching for some, then you should read this report … or you oughta be fired.

How the news biz is struggling to remain viable and relevant affects how journalists approach coverage in various media … and therefore how you can best approach them. Here are some observations from the report:

“All news organizations are becoming more niche players, basing their appeal less on how they cover the news and more on what they cover.”

“Technology is redefining the role of the citizen — endowing the individual with more responsibility and command over how he or she consumes information — and that new role is only beginning to be understood.”

“Journalism is becoming a smaller part of people's information mix. The press is no longer gatekeeper over what the public knows.” [Interestingly, the report refers to “search” as a kind of journalism, and includes an important section on public attitudes toward the news media.]

“Some of the most interesting experiments in new journalism continue to come from outside the profession — sites such as Global Voices, which mixes approved volunteer “reporters” from around the world with professional editors.”

“A growing pattern has news outlets, programs and journalists offering up solutions, crusades, certainty and the impression of putting all the blur of information in clear order for people. The tone may be just as extreme as before, but now the other side is not given equal play. In a sense, the debate in many venues is settled — at least for the host.”

“Every media sector except two is now losing popularity. Even the number of people who go online for news — or anything else — has stopped growing. Only the ethnic press is up.”

And that leads us to another new report from Pew, Latinos Online. Of course, don't bother reading this one if the online presence of the fasting growing ethnic population in America is unimportant to your organization.

BTW, Mi Gente, with 2.7 million Latino members, just made the top twenty list of social networking sites, coming in 18th in traffic. Here's our take.

Roger & Tom

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