Where do people get their news? Apparently they don’t.
Researchers at the Brookings Institution have reached these conclusions:
— 1. Print newspapers are dinosaurs
— 2. Hard news is in danger
— 3. Television is still important
— 4. And so is radio
—5. News is now digital
— 6. Social media allows news (and “news”) to go viral
— 7. For the younger generation, news is delivered through comedy
They noted that in the 1940s a third of Americans received a daily newspaper, but now readership is less than 15 percent. In 1945 there were 1,749 American newspapers. Now there are 1,331. But if you look at the number of papers per 100 million population, they have fallen from nearly 1,800 to only 400.
Perhaps that is because there is less to read. Newsroom staffing per capita has been cut in half in 25 years. “According to the American Society for Newspaper Editors, total newsroom employment in 1978 was 43,000; by 2015, it had dropped to 32,900. These raw numbers are significant in themselves, but they are more dramatic when increases in population are taken into account,” the report says.
Of course there is a reason for that, but one can’t tell if it is the chicken or the egg. Newspaper ad revenues have been cut in half in the past decade.
Where do people get their news now? Well, that depends upon how old you are, and what you define as news.
Note the age schizm.
Here is the rather namby-pamby conclusion by the Brookings researchers:
The pessimists will focus on the decline in newspaper readership, network television, and the number of professionals collecting hard news as proof that there are serious consequences to citizen knowledge as a result of the internet revolution. The optimists will point out that news is reaching people in new and unexpected ways and that the absence of traditional “gatekeepers” with the biases that all humans have (no matter how much they try to be neutral) has broadened the landscape of knowledge and opinion to which the public is exposed — with positive effects for democracy. They will also point out that the new technology allows for a two-way engagement with the news in ways that the old never did.
Or is it possible that we just don’t know yet?
They don’t address the quality of the news, such as the Politico fabrication about Ben Carson or the slanted ledes on stories that make them editorials instead of news or editorials that ignore the facts. The lack of competion makes the news business weaker and poorer in more ways than one.