18 Jul. 2007

Dumb Americans Dont Give A Shit About The News

A new study from Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center suggests that US readers are moving to the Internet, period, and a large number have no interest in news whatsoever. Here are some of the key findings:
The large fact about teens and young adults is not that they are heavily dependent on new media but that they partake only lightly of news, whatever the source. A shift in sources is occurring, and it is in the direction of the new media, but the larger tide has been the movement away from a daily news habit.

The Internet cannot be faulted for the decline in news interest among young adults. Other factors, including a weakening of the home as a place where news habits are acquired, underlie this development.

Our findings suggest that some news surveys have overestimated either the amount of news young adults consume or the capacity of non-traditional media to take up the slack from young people’s flight from traditional news sources.
Here are some of the numbers, based on a survey of 1800 teens aged 12 to 17, young adults aged 18 to 30 and older adults aged 31+:
* 60 percent of teens, 48 percent of young adults and 23 percent of older adults say they pay little or no attention to daily news coverage.

*Of respondents who said they had been exposed to major news stories, only about 40 percent of them could actually recall the key factual element of the story when asked.

*When it comes to hard news on politics or public affairs, only 45 percent of respondents said they were aware such stories. By comparison, 75 percent said they were familiar with softer celebrity or human interest stories, such as the death of Anna Nicole Smith.

*Segmented by age, 54 percent of older adults said they were aware of the main hard news stories and 83 percent said they were familiar with the soft news items. That compared with 24 percent of teens for hard news and 66 percent on soft news.
Via Reuters.