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On Election Night, score a victory for traditional media

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Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

(Read caption) People watch a television channel broadcasting US presidential election results in a neighborhood affected by Hurricane Sandy in Hoboken, N.J., Nov. 6.

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Social media may be the darling of a mobile generation weaned on interactivity and speed, but Election Night this year delivered a small silver lining of good news to so-called legacy media outlets such as newspapers and television.

With massive increases in traffic on news sites linked to such outlets as The New York Times and ABC News and with 66 million viewers watching TV, news of the legacy media’s death – to paraphrase Mark Twain – is greatly exaggerated.

“Content is still king,” says Len Shyles, communication professor at Villanova University in Philadelphia.

While many people now interact with social media such as Twitter and Facebook while they are watching TV, Professor Shyles says, “they are commenting on it, messing around with it, having fun with what they just heard, and sharing it with others.”

But, he points out, the legacy media is still the pre-eminent source, “and social media is still ancillary.”

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