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Posted on 03.22.2012

Study Shows We Want More News!

Is there a glimmer of hope for the rapidly declining news media industry? The ninth edition of the State of the News Media was released this week by Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, and the trends and key findings are definitely worthy of note. For the past several years the report has focused on the downward spiral of the news industry and the rise of technology. This year is a little more of the same except, according to the study, news is becoming more important to people. This could be a small silver lining for journalists and newspapers. Our appetite for news is indeed growing, but there is a continuous shift in how we want to receive it…not necessarily a strike against the industry. More than a quarter of the population now gets news from mobile devices, and this trend is responsible for a nine percent increase in traffic to major newspaper sites last year. Thanks to apps and direct newspaper home page visits on our phones, access to news is easier than ever and it’s having a positive impact on news sites. Another interesting trend is that, for the first time in almost a decade, the three main broadcast television networks saw an increase (4.5%) in news viewership, and CNN experienced a 16 percent increase. At the local level, the morning and evening news ratings grew for the first time in five years. Again, positive news. It seems print media is quickly trying to respond to our thirst for easily accessible online information. In fact, the Pew Report projects that in the next several months we will see more than 100 more publications join the existing 150 publications that have moved to a digital subscription. Our hunger for news is growing, and it seems like the industry is making small steps forward. The questions is: has the industry already fallen so far behind in technology and lack of engagement with its audience that an unpromising future is already decided? An excerpt from the Pew Report overview says, {A year ago we wrote here: “The news industry, late to adapt and culturally more tied to content creation than engineering, finds itself more a follower than leader shaping its business.” In 2012, that phenomenon has grown.”} Reporters across the country have been writing about this all week in publications like Forbes, The Chicago Tribune and The Washington Times. There are different opinions about the findings, but most agree that the future of the news industry is most certainly uncertain. To learn more about the 2012 State of the News Media results, click here.    

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