Friday, August 22, 2008

All the news that's fit to click

Pew research has released a study on news consumption. Statistical support for the obvious is found in tables (like the one below) showing the slow death march for newspapers, the rapid ascension of always on, online sources and the inevitable shakeout by age group, income and education. The young and the less educated (often the same group) consume less news. Who'd a thunk?

(Click to enlarge)

What the report also does is attempt to segment, into four groups, the news sourcing habits as they blend online, TV, radio and print sources.

An interesting contradiction in pre-existing bias for some (and another example of what happens when one relies too heavily on collectivist notions of demographics!) shows up in the political makeup of the Fox news and CNN audiences. Pew reports that 39% of Fox watchers are Republicans and 51% of CNN consumers are Democrats.

Whatever one thinks about segmentation masquerading as insight, one thing is clear in the attitudes of all groups: the credibility of traditional news sources is seen as low whether the source is traditional print and broadcast or among the news aggregators online (which aggregate stories from traditional media outlets' online services).

If traditional news outlets--be they online or off-- are not seen as beleivable by even a slim majority, it begs the question just how influential these influencers really are at an individual level.

A study focussing on a measure of influence might show that the grounds of the fourth estate are filled with gazing ponds. In which case, they may be alot like bloggers and nontraditional news sources!

Full Pew Study here

Interesting makeup of 'news' sources by gender (and interesting definition of news sources) in chart below

(click to enlarge)

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