People okay without newspapers?

Posted by Katelyn Philipp

Photo by Kheng Cheng Toh/Flickr

How important are newspapers to readers?

A new article from Poynter describes a recent Pew Research Study that looked into which news sources people use.

The study, “How People Learn About Their Local Community,” is a result of over 2,000 people surveyed.

Participants were asked which source(s) they use the most for different types of local news.  Sources include newspaper, television, radio, Internet, government, word of mouth, newsletter and mobile apps.

For local news, “newspapers and their websites ranked first,” the article says.

This is great news for the newspaper industry but listen to this.  69 percent of these people also said they would be fine getting news without accessibility to the print edition.  They didn’t have concerns, because the newspaper’s website coupled with other sources would be enough.

What does this mean?

While people still read newspapers, they would be fine without them.  News sources overlap so much, the public can get news elsewhere.  This is especially true for younger generations always on the go. In the chart, newspapers don’t rank first in any of the topics.

It seems they don’t have time anymore to sit down and read the newspaper.  Instead, they get bits from multiple sources.  It takes little effort to watch TV during breakfast or listen to the radio in the car.  People get to work and peruse news websites while checking their email.

Overall, the study showed poor results for social media and mobile apps as news sources.  This is not surprising.  It is a misconception that many people use these sources for news.  It’s so much faster and easier to click around on a computer.  Also, many people cannot have their phones at work or while they are in class.  This is a large chunk of time mobile devices are missing out on.

Do you think newspapers will continue to be read and have a strong readership? What sources do you get your news from?

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12 responses to “People okay without newspapers?

  1. Whether we like it or not, I think a lot of newspapers will either transfer over to electronic versions or make customers start paying for online access. But with the environment-friendly trend going on, my guess would be the former. I still read newspapers, but online articles are a big source of news for me too. I really enjoy being able to click from one article to a similar article or another section that will further explain an aspect of a story. Print newspapers just don’t have that opportunity. I love print, especially when it comes to books, but I must concede that if print is replaced by electronic sources, at least I can take solace in the fact that people are still reading.

    • I totally agree with you. While many of us are sad to see print newspapers dwindle, it is something we’re going to have to live with. The convenience of online news overshadows the nostalgia. I really like you’re point that “people are still reading.” Hopefully readership increases as people follow news sources on their phones and laptops.

  2. Katie makes a good point. The environment-friendly trend is on the rise. Although newspapers are generally made from recycled materials, it could be another (albeit small) reason for their potential obsolesce.
    Currently, I pick up whatever form of news is most convenient. At breakfast, it’s the newspaper. But walking between classes, it is via Twitter on a smartphone. And that comes from the need to know what my professors are interested in — my grade depends on it! Sadly, this ability of sharing what we think is important does not come in print form.

    • I get what you mean about needing to stay on top of news for class. I find it easier to catch breaking news through Twitter than picking up a copy of the New York Times. For example, I just learned about Amanda Knox’s release through Twitter.
      It’s also easier to search specifically. Sometimes I want to know about journalism news while other times I’m interested in politics.

      • I understand what you’re both saying about the internet being a much more efficient way to receive news. It takes less time, energy, and money. However, when I do take the time to read the newspaper, rather than perusing the internet for news, it’s much more satisfying. Online news sites can be overwhelming, when you click on one article and they recommend five more for you to read. Additionally, Twitter can be too much when you only wanted to catch up on local news. While I advocate being environmentally friendly as much as the next person, I can’t help but feel mournful when imagining newspapers becoming extinct.

  3. For my local news I read the newspaper, but that is more from necessity than straight preference. I would definitely use my hometown’s website if they kept it updated and user-friendly. My hometown is a small town where the local newspaper continuously changes ownership and as a result the website is cumbersome and hardly ever up-to-date. I do not see small, local newspapers fading as fast as national ones but the change is slowly coming.

    • I think your situation could be one of the reasons why local newspapers did so well in the Pew Research Study. Small newspaper’s websites and social media aren’t kept up to date, and such specific news isn’t available in larger papers.

  4. I love reading newspapers. It makes me feel mature, as funny as that may sound! But, unfortunately, I get the majority of my news from my Twitter feed. I enjoy being informed, but sometimes getting daily news is just another thing on my to-do list and in that case convenience is key. But I think, and hope, that newspapers are going to be able to survive the long haul because people like that nostalgia. Reading the morning paper is a kind of tradition that will live on, and I believe that newspapers will be a significant resource, at least for awhile.

    • I understand what you’re saying about convenience being key when it comes to getting news on a day-to-day basis. I receive most of my news while perusing Twitter and Facebook, especially on my smart phone throughout the day. However, when I do get the chance to read the newspaper, I absorb the news more fully.

  5. Emily - Drake University

    I could see newspapers making the switch to online in the future. I think there are still people who strongly prefer their papers in print, but a lot of people wouldn’t mind pulling up a website on their tablet or laptop in the morning instead of unfolding a paper. Newspapers just aren’t as practical for the fast-paced world we live in. People don’t want to hear about a speech or a game the next morning, they want to hear about it right after it happens. As much as I love print, I agree with Katie about the convenience of online articles and links.

  6. Like several of you mentioned, I get most of my news online (news sites, social media), too. I do believe that daily newspapers will disappear eventually; however, small towns depend on their little publications and support them. I see local weekly papers staying around longer.

  7. As much as I like print, I think the web is simply more convenient. Like you said, Katelyn, it’s easy to switch from checking your email to checking the latest news. It almost seems like print newspapers need to have that online component in order to survive, and a lot of publications are making those changes. But I hope they hold out for awhile!

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