“Promiscuous” News Consumers

This week in class, we discussed media ownership, as well as where we all got our news. Most said that they looked at multiple news websites in an attempt to get a variety of viewpoints. Professor Hayden joked that no one watches the nightly news anymore except old fogeys. I suppose that makes me an old fogey, since I like to watch the NBC nightly news while preparing dinner, though that may have something to do with my crush on Brian Williams. 😉

Brian Williams- The Reason I Watch TV News

One source that no one mentioned was newspapers. I suppose I need to qualify this- we probably all look at the websites for the New York Times and Washington Post. However, when was the last time you actually bought a physical paper, much less subscribed to one?

Comics- The Reason I Read The Newspaper

It seems that reading the paper is increasingly falling out of vogue, and the numbers back up this impression. A recent Journalism.co.uk article reveals that worldwide newspaper circulation is down 2%. This is only the second year in recorded history that circulation has dropped. Interestingly, the drop in circulation has been uneven. In North America, circulation was down by 11%. There was also a 12% drop in Eastern and Central Europe and a 2.5% drop in Western Europe. On the other hand, readership was up by 7% in the Asia Pacific region and 2% in Latin America. Unfortunately, they do not provide any reasons for this disparity. Readers, do you have any idea why this would be?

Other news sources that are in decline are the radio (I guess we prefer our commercial-free iPods?) and free daily papers (though you wouldn’t know it if you take the DC Metro). Fear not, newspaper fans. Newspapers remain the number one news source overall, with 2.3 million daily readers. However, internet news is catching up with 1.9 million daily readers.

What I would like to ask you all is, why do you prefer internet news to newspapers (or vice versa)? Do you think that newspapers have a chance at revival, or will they soon seem as dated as our friend the telegraph?

-Tory

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3 thoughts on ““Promiscuous” News Consumers

  1. Tory, I have spent the past few summers interning at newspapers and seen the decline in readership firsthand. I am a journalism junkie but I can’t remember the last time I bought a newspaper (except in foreign countries as souvenirs). For me, the reason is simple. It makes no economic sense to buy newspapers anymore. I can access most news online for free and it will always be more up to date than what I read in the paper. With a smartphone I can get the news whenever I need it from a convenient device that I would carry with me anyway.

    It looks like print newspapers are reaching the end of the road. I don’t see how a daily publication can continue to make a profit. Consider that most loyal newspaper readers are older generations. Our generation is really the first to shun newspapers and wholeheartedly embrace online news. The future doesn’t look bright for newspapers.

  2. Tory, this is really interesting post. I’d like to thank you for doing the research and posting the numbers. I agree with Gabby. For me, there’s no necessity to buy a newspaper when I can access the same information for free over the internet. I also like to think that I’m being environmentally friendly with my e-newspaper, but that might just be an excuse. Also, its noteworthy to indicate that many consumers want constantly updated news, a platform the internet provides that newspapers lack. What’s interesting though, is that I always take a peak at the headline stories on the paper when I grab coffee in the morning. Does that count as “reading” the newspaper, even if i’m not buying it?

  3. Tory, I’m afraid I’m in agreement with Fatemeh and Gabby on this one. For me it’s a matter of what I can get for free versus having to pay for the paper. (This is of course going beyond the idea that I try to use as little paper as possible). If I can get the news online from my twitter feed of the Washington Post or New York Times, is there really a reason to pick up the paper and spend the money (and for that matter time) of finding an actual newspaper? Especially when I can be updated at a moments notice on an issue as long as I have access to the Internet.

    It is interesting though because when I lived in the dorms on campus they were apart of a program that allowed anyone who lived in the dorm to pick up an actual newspaper for free. When this was the case, I found that I was a lot more invested in picking up an actual newspaper…sort of how I still pick up the free school newspaper in its paper form. I only assume others do the same. (And frankly, I think the only reason I really loved the actual paper was for the crossword puzzle…I’m unsure if that is enough of a reason for newspapers to continue being printed.) Sadly, as Gabby said, the future isn’t bright for the actual newspaper.

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