A five-year study on ownership and quality of television stations, which began in 1998, set out to find the correlation between the success of stations owned by companies also owning newspapers. The study, which was based on 23,806 news stories that were broadcast on 172 stations, studied the quality of the journalism by considering the following:

    • Cover the whole community
    • Be significant and informative
    • Demonstrate enterprise and courage
    • Be fair, balanced and accurate
    • Be authoritative
    • Be highly local

One finding was that cross ownership, which occurs when a company owns both a television station and a newspaper, produces some of the most efficient news. Six stations in the study fell into this category: WSB in Atlanta, WBRZ in Baton Rouge, WFAA in Dallas, WZZM in Grand Rapids, WFLA in Tampa and KRON in San Francisco.

In the study, cross ownership -- or converged journalism -- led to higher grades:

Correlation between
Cross-Ownership and Quality Grade

Cross-owned stations
Non-cross-owned stations
33 %
14 %
100 %
100 %

So what's the point, you ask? It's simple. Converged journalism works. In only five years since converged journalism started having a noticeable impact on the way society retrieved its news, we've seen dramatic changes. Need an example?

In 2003, ESPN.com launched a newly styled Web site called Motion. With no buffering, ESPN has the ability to feed its visitors with up-to-the-minute news. Fans no longer need to wait for the morning paper. Nor do they need to wait for the evening news. Now, reporters bring their work to the Web.

Expect more of what ESPN brings its visitors in the future. If technological developments continue to improve and the economy doesn't plummet much longer, the content of the newspaper and television news shows likely will be delivered primarily over the Internet.

Stories won't just be stories. They will include in-depth reporting packaged together. A combination of text and visuals will provide the world with something they've never seen before. And it all starts with the convergence of journalism.

 Site created by Jeff Darlington