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Comparing mainstream media with user news sites

For one week, the Project for Excellence in Journalism compared the news agenda of established media news sites with user news sites Digg, Del.icio.us and Reddit. The PEJ also looked at Yahoo News’ most viewed, most emailed and most recommended categories. The results? Stories on the user sites were “markedly different” than mainstream press with barely any overlap. Seven out of ten stories originated from blogs or other sites like YouTube that did not focus on the news. User sites were “more diverse, yet also more fragmented and transitory.” Which leads PEJ to the conclusion, “These user sites may be supplemental for audiences. They may gravitate to them in addition to, rather than instead of, traditional venues.” In my experience, that’s more often the case — with the exception of young men, perhaps.

And many online newsies will not be surprised by the Yahoo News analysis, which mirrors most news sites: “Most Recommended stories focused more on ‘news you can use’ such as advice from the World Health Organization to exercise one’s legs during long flights; the Most Viewed stories were often breaking news, more sensational in nature, with a heavy dose of crime and celebrity; and the Most Emailed stories were more diverse, with a mix of the practical and the oddball.”

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