Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Future Of Newspapers

Young News: Yes Or No?
By Gina Mobilio

In a country of young men and women focusing on media, pop culture, and gossip as their main source of news entertainment, it is hard to imagine the youth of our nation advancing their worldly knowledge with the political, social, economic, and environmental news reports that are available to them.

A report released by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard titled, “Young People and the News,” focused on the news viewing and reading habits of 1,800 Americans between the ages of 18 to 30, and older adults.

This study found that only 16 percent of the young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 read at least one newspaper daily, while only nine percent of teenagers read newspapers. When compared with the amount of people over the age of the 30 reading the news daily, there was a vast difference. The study found that 35 percent of all people over the age of 30 are actively reading newspapers.

“Unfortunately, that study seems about right,” Marymount Manhattan College student Shannon O’Brien said. “I’m 22 years-old and I know that I am lacking in reading my newspaper. I never know what’s going on,” she confesses with a nervous giggle.
“My friends and I read Perez Hilton’s website. Does that count as news?”

Perez Hilton’s celebrity gossip blog site generates 7 million hits a day, with an audience of mostly 18-30 year olds.

“I just can’t be bothered [with the newspaper.] If something terrible happened in the world, my mom would text message me about it. She reads the news. I just try to stick to lighter forms of reading. Life is too intense to read the news all the time,” O’ Brien said.

Barbara Gottesman, an 80 year-old retired real estate agent living in the Upper East Side, thought differently when asked about her newspaper consumption. “The news is what gets me through the day. I can’t walk well, so I can’t do a lot of things within this city or see a lot of advertising [around the city.] How am I going to know which show at the opera I want to see without reading the newspaper’s reviews,” she said.

As a faithful reader of the New York Times, Gottesman praised the Arts and Leisure Section of the Sunday editions, as well as the headlines. “You look in the paper, and poof, you know what’s going on in New York and the rest of the world. I don’t understand why people don’t understand that.”

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