(Unsurprising) STUDY: We Don’t Read Newspapers Like We Used To


First, it was the advent of the Internet. Then, newspaper circulation began decreasing. Next, some other stuff happened, followed by a big gender inequality kerfuffle over at The New York Times. Suddenly, as if out of the blue, the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) has decided to unveil a blue-ribbon study that tells us something we already knew:

In today’s media landscape, readers are changing the way(s) they access and interact with newspaper media content.

Stunning, right?

With all of the newspapers erecting firewalls and then tearing them down for fear of scaring off the good reading folk, you would think publishers would learn that digital was not created to replace newspapers but to enhance them.

Since that realization happened a decade too late, we have this rather nice infographic…

The NAA created this work of statistical art (seen below) that really should be read by all former purveyors of news print journalism (and the rest of you younger PR whippersnappers out there enjoying your interweb blogs). Among some of the not-so-startling insights included below is the following:

  • The average adult uses four different devices or technologies to access news in a given week
  • In 2014, online newspaper content reached more than 145 million unique visitors in January. Just January.
  • In 2013, the Washington Post and The New York Times (only) drove more than 260,000 tweets of content. Each week. 

There is other stuff in here, much to the chagrin of newspaper publishers everywhere, but there’s also a glimmer of hope on the horizon. We are not readers any longer; we are consumers. We are not newspaper subscribers any longer; we are Web surfers. The moment newspaper publications realize that one generation is turning brown like the paper product they used to subscribe to in the past — the better.

MEMO to the NAA, INMA, and anyone else in charge of a paper: the fact that people consume the news differently doesn’t mean their appetites have changed.


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