People are turning to blogs for news rather than traditional journalism, with its focus on substantiating facts, according to a study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The study: The State of the American News Media, 2005, was produced by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a research institute affiliated with the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. It found that traditional journalism is now competing with other models of news, such as Blogs, that are "faster, cheaper and less accurate alternatives".

The report demonstrates some concern that the Bloggers philosophy is "publish first and assume the verification process will occur in the response and argument that follow".

Cutting back

Unfortunately, as a result of its depleting audience, the report suggests that news organizations are now being tempted to cut back on news-gathering and change standards to compete with the new models.

The new form of reporting news is changing the media landscape. Project director Tom Rosenstiel said: "In effect, Americans are shifting from being consumers of news to pro-active partners in creating their own personalized news account each day, and traditional journalism is only part of that mix. This amounts to a new kind American citizenship with more responsibilities for the consumer."

Rosenstiel said: "The news is moving from being an organized, prepared lecture to a free-flowing conversation, with all the advantages and disadvantages that implies. The process is more open, but, paradoxically, it is also more prone to manipulation by those who want to shape public opinion. The cases of the government hiring commentators and creating faux web sites are part of this phenomenon."

This revelation comes at a time when there is some debate as to whether Bloggers should be considered journalists– and whether they should be protected by the same laws as journalists.