The latest study from the Pew Internet & American Life provides more evidence that the Internet continues to transform the average person from a media user to a media creator - a trend that should further compel newspapers and other old-form media to hasten their leap across the digital divide.
Pew reports that 48 million Americans - 1 in 3 Internet users - have created and posted online some form of digital content, from blogs to photos to video.
The spreading acceptance of a broadband connection as a mainstream commodity lowers the barrier to entry for personal publishing, says Pew (as does, I would add, the proliferation of social-software sites, e.g., MySpace or Flickr). Here are some bullets from the March study:
Forty-two percent of all American adults had a high-speed internet connection at home - 40 percent more than a year earlier.
The ethnic gap online appears to be shrinking: Broadband adoption among African Americans increased by 121 percent from 2005.
The "broadband elite" is disappearing and content creation is more or less evenly divided by income: In households with less than $50,000 income, 46 percent have posted online; in households of more than $50,000 income, 41 percent.
What this means for journalism is clear:
Further migration of audience to the Web.
More expectation by the public of interactivity, participation and conversation about the news.
More people with the inclination and technical ability to consume broadband news.
More need for news producers (newspapers, e.g.) to publish in multiple formats.
Greater demand in newsrooms for people with online skills.
Here is Pew's chart on content creation:
(Thanks to Steve Yelvington.)Posted by Tim Porter at May 30, 2006 05:26 PM