Jonathan Stray from the Nieman Journalism Lab recently conducted an analysis of the amount of original news content found in news articles through Google. In conducting the analysis, Stray took a major headlining article in the news and then tracked how many articles pertaining to the subject contained original content.
The results of the analysis were surprising. Stray examined 121 different articles covering the announcement that students in a Chinese university had hacked into American computers, finding that only 13 or 11% had some original content.
Of the 13 "original" stories, Stray noted that 8 came from traditional paper-based media outlets. All the other articles published lacked original content but nonetheless provided in-depth articles concerning the same story in a different way.
The results of his analysis led to Stray to ask "What were those other 100 reporters doing?" One must question how effective it is for news outlets to produce essentially their version of the same thing. Many argue that a multitude of voices on one subject is the most effective way at revealing the truth, but these findings suggest that time, energy, and more importantly money are being wasted for no reason.