New media vs. old media: A portrait of the Drudge Report 2002-2008

Kalev Leetaru


The Drudge Report is one of the founding flag bearers of the “new media”: a U.S.-based news aggregator founded in the late 1990’s that has developed a reputation for breaking tomorrow’s news today. The site has become a powerful force in the U.S. media sphere and its founder was named one of Time Magazine’s most influential people in 2006. In existence for more than a decade, the Drudge Report makes an ideal case study for examining the “new media versus old media” argument. How dependent is such a “new media” aggregator on the “old media” it draws from, and how does it find the breaking stories it has built its reputation on? A cross-section of analytical techniques is used to demonstrate how to profile a news Web site, and finds that the Drudge Report relies heavily on wire services and obscure news outlets to find the small stories that will break large tomorrow and is highly dependant on the mainstream “old media” sites it draws from.

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