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His introduction

From Wikimania

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Tom Stites writes:

The dilemma:

Traditional sources of quality reporting — metropolitan newspapers and to a lesser degree network television news operations — are contracting relentlessly in terms of their staff resources, coverage ambitions, and audience reach. At the same time, metropolitan newspapers are increasingly skewing both their news and feature coverage to appeal to people in the top two quintiles of the income distribution, thus turning their backs on the majority of Americans.

Pew Institute for the People & the Press data show that the decline in newspaper readership is almost entirely confined to people living in households whose income is less than $50,000 a year, people who find very little that’s relevant to their lives in metro dailies. Thus the nonaffluent are abandoned to the soundbite manipulations of cable news and the vapidity of network news, undercutting their ability to be informed citizens. The result is a class divide in access to quality journalism that distorts American democracy.

Citizen journalism, blogs, and other emerging approaches to news are rushing in to fill the gap. But while they show significant promise in strengthening democracy, to date they audience they serve is small and rarefied.

The challenge:

How can the citizen journalism and other emerging forms bring relevant quality journalism to less-than-affluent Americans no longer served by mainstream journalism? How can these media achieve a market penetration that matches that of facebook.com on college campuses or weekly newspapers in rural towns?

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