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News in 'The Age of Too Much Information'

By November 19, 2008

If you’re in the media it’s important to think about how people consume news -- even if you’re not an executive at a news company. Now, especially, as the industry scrambles to come up with new models for delivering news, it’s important to follow the habits and desires of the reading public. To that end there’s an interesting, if long, piece in The Columbia Journalism Review called "Overload!" that discusses the way in which information overload has become a problem for news suppliers as well as readers.

In the piece, author Bree Nordenson discusses how, in this age of “news fatigue” -- Nordenson cites a study from The AP in which news readers admit to being overwhelmed by too much content -- the mistake many news organizations have made is to simply add to the fray. She writes of the news media: “If they were to address these questions head on, many news outlets would discover that their actions thus far—to increase the volume and frequency of production, sometimes frantically and mindlessly—have only made things more difficult for the consumer."

What do we do with this knowledge, if Nordenson is correct? That's really the question. We need to think about this as we launch, and grow, our careers in media.

Since "Consumed!" is a lengthy and detailed article, before you launch into it, you can get a basic intro to the news media here.

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