Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Times-Union Needs Work on Attracting Young, Old Readers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Times-Union Needs Work on Attracting Young, Old Readers

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Clark, Times-Union Reader Advocate

Young people are turning away from newspapers.

The Internet is becoming a big-time news provider.

Distrust of the news media is increasing.

OK, those are not press-stopping news alerts, but the trends are continuing, reported a new scientific survey of U.S. news habits by the Pew Research Center for People and Press.

Let's start with Republican news consumers, leading the way in distrust of the news media. Fox News can't escape their wrath.

Only 29 percent of Republicans say Fox News is credible, slightly more than the 26 percent of Republicans who feel that way about CNN. Even C-SPAN is tainted. Only 23 percent of Republicans find the cable news outlet highly believable, as opposed to 39 percent of Democrats. The Wall Street Journal's credibility is slipping. The percentage of Republicans who find The Wall Street Journal credible dropped from 48 percent to 23 percent since 1998.

Another major trend is the increasing use of the Internet as a news provider. The online news audience is young, affluent and well-educated. In 1995, just 2 percent of the public was going online at least three days a week to get news. That increased to 13 percent by 1998 and nearly doubled again to 23 percent by 2000. Now, it has reached 29 percent. Minorities have flocked to the Internet

Meanwhile, the decadelong slide in newspaper readership has leveled off, Pew reported.

The percentage of Americans reporting that they "read a newspaper yesterday" fell from 58 percent in 1994 to 47 percent in 2000 and 41 percent in 2002. It now stands at 42 percent.

Newspapers are still having trouble attracting young readers. While previous generations developed a newspaper habit as they grew older, that may not be happening this time. …

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