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User-Driven Sources Bring Fresh Eyes to Notion of News


Shadows have their
own designs

A study found that headline-worthy news in the mainstream media differed from stories deemed most popular among user-generated news sources.

For the Project for Excellence in Journalism, news from 48 mainstream sources - including radio, television and online - were compared with news on Reddit, Digg and Del.icio.us over the last week in June.

While traditional media heavily covered the immigration debate and stories about Iraq, user-driven news sites were populated with talk of the iPhone release, and reports that Nintendo's net worth eclipsed that of Sony.

"There was a sense that users were sifting through a lot of raw information; rumour, gossip, propaganda and the news were all thrown into the mix," said author Tom Rosenstiel of the report.

According to BBC News, seven out of 10 stories chosen by user-driven sites came from non-news websites such as blogs. Indeed, original content accounted for a mere 1 percent, lending the sense that "citizen journalists" were shadowing other media sources, then re-aggregating the information for their own audiences.

About 40 percent of popular stories on Digg and Del.icio.us revolved around technology, with lifestyle stories in close second. Only 5 percent of stories overlapped with the 10 most-oft covered stories in the mainstream media world.

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