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Newspapers in trouble with youth? How about TV?


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November 04, 2005

Newspapers in trouble with youth? How about TV?

Stephen Baker

Tim Porter discusses a study showing that young people, as a group, may never read newspapers--even when they grow up. So I ask my 17-year-old, who seems to be paying a lot more attention to his waffles than to The New York Times.

Me: Do you watch news on TV?

Him: I've been trying to. MSNBC, and stuff like that.

Note use of word "Trying." It's an effort, because he can't instantly find the political polemics he's looking for.

Me: So why don't you TiVo Hardball or whatever?

Him: Sometimes I do. (defensively) Hey, it's not like I watch commercials. (ie. I'm not a total loser.) I surf around.

Conclusion: It's not the victory of one medium over another. But to win the attention of the coming generation, every one of them must deliver On Demand. In the meantime, TV remains for many a background medium, something they look up at from time to time. I covered some of this in a story last year about a 23-year-old media maven.

07:48 AM

mainstream media

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This is true! The teenagers in my life would rather surf the net for information than pick up a newspaper or watch the news. If young people don't read the newspaper (and never will) and if they don't watch TV, how will they get information in the future? How will they know it's from a valid source? How will this impact the way media works? The way companies communicate? My next read is "We the Media" in an attempt to grasp this.

Posted by: Tara Murray at November 4, 2005 10:50 AM

Hey Stephen, I’m a 24 year old guy myself (man that’s starting to sound old) and wanted to throw in my own two cents by answering the same questions you asked your son.

You: Do you watch news on TV?

Me: Yes, but this mostly occurs when a good TV show that I have been watching transitions into the 10 o'clock news.

You: So why don't you TiVo Hardball or whatever?

Me: By that time the news is old.

Speaking on behalf of myself and many other of my 20-something year old friends, it's not too often that we pick up a newspaper or watch the news. I may much more than others b/c I am in the business of PR, but most of the time we don't have the attention span for it. Now if there was a way to incorporate the news into ESPN or MTV, the chances of grasping a young audience would increase. Like you said, it's all about winning over our attention.

Posted by: Blake at November 4, 2005 01:43 PM


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