Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Younger Generation Not into Traditional News Outlets

The Pew Research Center For The People & The Press states that the median age of a newscast viewer is 60 years old! Another statistic shows only 18 percent of 18-29 year olds watch nightly network news on a regular basis versus 26 percent of 30-49 year olds, 43 percent of 50-64 year olds, and 56 percent of 65 year olds and above (Pew Research Center For The People & The Press 2004).

What does this mean for the future of network evening news? Or even cable news outlets?

A recent New York Times Article, "The Youngsters Aren't Listening as Much" points to two problems in getting a younger audience for radio news. First, the outright conflict is the increasingly competititive environment for media outlets today. Second, radio, as a medum, does not try to target this group, as they are not considered the money makers. The article says that listening hours for the 18-24 age range has dropped about 21 percent over the past two years. I find this statistic interesting given the recent XM radio push to a younger crowd.

With statistics like the ones aforementioned, we can only wonder if the younger generation will "grow up" and start listening/watching the news, or if the new trend is here to stay.

Networks are trying to implement new strategies (like CBS and Katie Couric) to appeal to this demographic, but will it work? I think there may just be too many options with the internet, cable stations, and the likes to have an outright media winner or a concentrated audience.



At Tuesday, October 17, 2006, Blogger Medill Media Watch said...

Good question. I'm going to be optimistic and suggest that it's all going to be okay--young people might choose different forms of news, but as we get older, we're going to settle on something. I don't think that television as we know it is going anywhere soon, and as long as that's around, so too will be broadcast news.

Sure, there are a lot of other ways to watch a broadcast, but most of them are just annoying. You either have to click around to find what you want and then hope your computer has the right software to load it, or constantly buy the newest iPod or phone so you can watch shows on a tiny screen.

I could be wrong about this...but I, for one, am still watching.


At Tuesday, October 17, 2006, Blogger Medill Media Watch said...

I think part of the problem is the younger generation doesn't appreciate the value of news and multiple news outlets.

For example, the other day one of my friends asked me why NBC, ABC and CBS had to have a newscast at 10pm. He said they all had the same stories so there should be just one show and the other channels could get to the entertainment programming.


I'm not sure how representative he is, but I think his viewpoint shows some people really think all we do is relay the facts. They don't appreciate the process--the digging for the truth, and consequently, they don't value traditional outlets that stick to journalism's core values. Not sure what the remedy is....Maybe we should all get jobs at the "Daily Show."



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