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New Media Develops Rapidly

New media products and programming developed rapidly in the past year. Jeffrey Brown takes a look at the largest media stories of 2006, including the rise of YouTube and the ongoing struggles in the newspaper business.

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  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Yes, the big stars of what we can call old media were in the spotlight in 2006, notably when Charles Gibson and Katie Couric traded mornings for evenings.

    But another old media mainstay, Time magazine, passed over the anchors and other newsmakers, and instead selected as its person of the year, "You." That's you, the viewer, reader, listener, and more and more creator of news content.

    The media shift is spreading across the Internet on decidedly new media Web sites, like YouTube, which was purchased in October by the dominant search engine Google for $1.6 billion.

    All those eyes on the Internet have come at the expense of traditional news sources and forced numerous changes. NBC announced a plan to save $750 million with the elimination of 700 jobs, the merger of its news operations, and an increased focus on digital content.

    The nation's second-largest newspaper chain, Knight-Ridder, ceased to exist, after selling its 32 papers to a smaller competitor, the McClatchy Company, in a $4.5 billion deal.

    And shrinking circulation led to staff cuts at many prominent papers. At the Los Angeles Times, the publisher and editor were forced out when they refused to impose hundreds of corporate-mandated layoffs.

    The L.A. Times and its parent, the Tribune Company, are also thought to be on the auction block.

  • BRIAN TIERNEY, CEO, Philadelphia Media Holdings:

    I really do believe, from the bottom of my heart, that the next great era of Philadelphia journalism begins today, right here in this room.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    In Philadelphia, businessman Brian Tierney lead a group of investors in buying the town's two papers from McClatchy, in what may be a growing trend toward a return to local ownership. Rumors of a potential takeover by local investors also hit the Boston Globe.

    For old and new institutions alike, the action is increasingly moving online. USA Today, with the nation's largest circulation, combined its print and online newsrooms. And it, like other organizations, is incorporating more elements of reader-generated so-called citizen journalism.

    A recent event in Los Angeles showed the growing power of nonprofessional journalists in uncovering news. Video of the UCLA student being Tasered or stun-gunned by campus police was taken with a camera phone by a bystander. It spread quickly across YouTube and other online sites.

    SEN. GEORGE ALLEN (R), Virginia: This fellow here over here with the yellow shirt, Macaca, or whatever his name is…

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Some of the more memorable video moments of the recent political campaign also played out in cyberspace, chief among them, Virginia Senator George Allen's "Macaca" gaffe.

    Traditional media continued to expand their own online video presence. CBS News, for example, began simulcasting the evening news online, and ABC began posting original 15-minute news broadcasts to its web site in mid-afternoon.

    According to a report released by the Census Bureau, for the first time Americans spend more time surfing the Internet than reading newspapers. And a Pew Research Center study found that nearly one in three Americans regularly gets news online, compared to just one in 50, ten years ago.

    And we look at some of these developments now with Mark Jurkowitz, associate director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism and a former media critic for the Boston Globe and the Boston Phoenix.

    Mary Hodder, founder and CEO of Dabble.com, a video search and social community Web site, and previously a researcher at the University of California Berkeley School of Information Looking at Digital Media.

    Adam Clayton Powell III, director of the Integrated Media System Center at the University of Southern California, and a former news executive at NPR and CBS.

    And Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a staff writer on the media for the New Yorker magazine.

    Welcome to all of you.