How reliable are forecasts?

One of our industry participants has commented that surprises from the last 10 years in the media communication sphere, includes a reduction to the quality and diversity of news services through their truncated presence online.
A recent study conducted in the US and cited by Wired magazine would tend to support this view.
I include the full synopsis from the Slashdot entry for this story and its links link to the Wired article.

The Net’s Effect on Journalism |
| from the no-not-that-way-the-other-way dept. |
| posted by Zonk on Monday March 17, @08:13 (The Media) |
| http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/03/17/0649200 |
+——————————————————————–+

An Associated Press article about the impact of the internet on
journalism has a few interesting findings. A few years ago, it was
expected that the internet would democratize news coverage. While print
media is being rapidly reborn online, web-based news appears to be
constraining the number of conversations instead of expanding them.
The news agenda actually seems to be narrowing, with many Web sites
primarily packaging news that is produced elsewhere, according to the
Project for Excellence in Journalism’s annual State of the News Media
report. Two stories – the war in Iraq and the 2008 presidential election
campaign – represented more than a quarter of the stories in newspapers,
on television and online last year, the project found. Take away Iraq,
Iran and Pakistan, and news from all of the other countries in the world
combined filled up less than 6 percent of the American news hole, the
project said.”

Links:

Wired Article

This is an indicator that positive effects, hypothesised as a new communication medium emerges, can actually result in their opposite effect.
I suppose we could back cast from findings like this, to identify more carefully the factors that are likely to lead to these sorts of reversals.

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