Not that news seekers are obsessed with the topic. Some argue that only professional journalists notice – or care.
“There’s a lot of confusion between what’s mainstream media and what’s other forms of media,” says Sreenath Sreenivasan, a professor who teaches new media at Columbia University’s school of journalism in New York. But the average person poking around online doesn’t “necessarily focus on that issue,” he says.
“I have friends who get all their news from their Facebook news feed,” he says. They get links to news articles from friends, but they’ll also get news of friends who changed jobs, moved to a new house, or entered a new relationship. “That’s all ‘news’ to them,” Dr. Sreenivasan says. It’s not about mainstream versus nonmainstream. It’s all about, “What is news to me?” he says.
Rather than relying on familiar news organizations, people are more apt to trust their friends’ judgment. People may not even notice where the news item originated. “If my friend Jim sent me this article, I’m going to trust it more because he sent it to me,” Sreenivasan says.
“The best newspapers are going to end up looking like the best blogs, and the best blogs are going to end up looking a lot like the best newspapers,” predicted a 20-something new-media prodigy named Garrett Graff five years ago. Now, “that’s virtually happened,” Mr. Graff says. In 2005, he made news as the first blogger ever to be issued credentials as part of the White House press corps. This month, he takes over as editor in chief of long-established Washingtonian magazine, with 400,000 monthly readers of print and 400,000 more online.