(CN) – A new report released Tuesday finds that U.S.-based journalism has moved away from objective news in the past few decades in favor of more opinion and editorial content, with 24-hour news channels leading the way.
The RAND study used an analytic tool to study millions of lines of text from newspapers, broadcast and online journalism from 1989 to 2017 to identify word and phrase usage patterns. The tool was previously used to analyze support for Islamic terrorists on social media.
“Our research provides quantitative evidence for what we all can see in the media landscape: Journalism in the U.S. has become more subjective and consists less of the detailed event- or context-based reporting that used to characterize news coverage,” said Jennifer Kavanagh, political scientist and lead author of the report.
Researchers used the tool to analyze content from major newspapers, TV channels and digital news sites. Their findings discovered a gradual shift between all forms of journalism from objective-based news to a subjective form that carries a more personal perspective.
In their analysis of broadcast news, the researchers found that the news segments were more likely to have complex academic language and reasoning before the year 2000. After 2000, broadcast channels became less about reporting the news and more about airing opinions about the news.
The study found that newspapers have changed the least compared to other media, slightly shifting from academic language to more narrative pieces.Researchers also found that online news sites feature more direct and personal narratives.
“Our analysis illustrates that news sources are not interchangeable but each provides mostly unique content, even when reporting on related issues,” said Bill Marcellino, a behavioral and social scientist and co-author. “Given our findings that different types of media present news in different ways, it makes sense that people turn to multiple platforms.”