Monday Pew Research published their latest findings re: Americans and where they get their news. The headline was ”Social media outpaces print newspapers in the U.S. as a news source.” Pew’s analysis is that with about 20% of Americans now indicating they often get their news from social media, ”print newspapers” dropped below social media for the first time. So why our headline here that ”Newspapers Maintain Their Dominance?”
TV outpaces every other individual media source noted in the study including: news websites, radio, social media and print newspapers. Setting aside that none of these media distinctions really mean much to news consumers and that this is all basically just inside baseball, here’s how these news sources rank:
Television – 46%
News websites – 33%
Radio – 26%
Social Media – 20%
Print Newspapers – 16%
Respondents were asked to answer the question of where do they most often get their news. Pew notes that this is the first time social media has garnered a higher percentage than print newspapers. Nothing against Pew Research but as big believers in print publications – both news and consumer brands – we take some issue with the portrayal of newspapers suffering a loss of news consumers (and therefore value) due to more Americans getting their news via ”other” sources.
Over the past three to four years it’s commonly known that news consumption is way up. Technology and the Trump era have combined to heighten American’s appetite for information and quality news sources. Indeed, the New York Times has had a big surge in subscribers (both digital and print) since Trump started calling the paper the ”failing New York Times.”
But in all seriousness (and despite the actual decline in metro daily newspaper print circulations), newspapers are still the dominant news source by far. I’m not the average news consumer and I get 100% of my news via reporters on Twitter and the Twitter feeds of newspapers. This isn’t typical for my age group (45-54.) But I then sometimes share some of these newspaper articles from Twitter on Facebook. This distribution of news across channels is typical. My local daily and weekly newspapers also share much of their reporting on Twitter and Facebook. This is then circulated by social media users on multiple platforms. So the particular media (TV, radio, news websites, social media etc.) where consumers get their news is a distinction without a real difference.
Much of local and cable TV news is driven by newspaper reporting. Cable news broadcasters and personalities regularly quote sources at newspapers. Radio news updates are generally a rehashing of the days newspaper headlines. News websites are regularly among the sites with the most views and clicks. The reality of news consumption is that the specific media matters very little and ”print newspapers” or news platforms are still the dominant source of news for most Americans.
Long live ”newspapers!”
Contributor: Jim Jinks