The Project for Excellence in Journalism notes that political news is still produced mainly by \"old media.\" Personalized home pages such as My Yahoo tend to shunt important materials off in favor of newer items. Some web-based media, such as Salon.com and MSN, are given higher marks for their efforts to combine shallow linking with original reporting. See Currents for the full story.
The study looked at 12 of the most popular Internet news sites and followed 286 lead stories on six dates from late February until Super Tuesday, checking in on them several times a day. While nearly half of those sites published new stories on a regular basis, the report found that the most important stories often got bumped to the bottom page as more recent news items emerged.
In nearly all cases, the report found, so-called \"old media\" sources were responsible for the majority of news stories on the sites studied. In fact, the three most popular news sites - America Online, Netscape, and Yahoo - contained no original stories.
Few sites published stories detailing the candidates\' policy positions, although roughly half of the sites provided links to access that information. In addition, fewer than a quarter of the home pages reviewed contained any original reporting, the study found. Most importantly, the report encountered a runaround in accessing particular stories on many Web sites, which were often buried deep within political news pages.
\"Overall, sites that tended to have some kind of editorial overhead or tie to a news organization, tended to offer the most in terms of the quality of their stories,\" said Amy Mitchell, staff director for the Project.