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Most People Want to Hear the News, Study Says

March 19, 2014

Americans of all ages still pay attention to serious news, even as they sample lighter fare from a media buffet that no longer relies on front pages and evening newscasts to dictate what’s worth knowing.

As The Associated Press reports, a new study from the Media Insight Project challenges the notion of a media “bubble” in which people only pay attention to their own limited spheres of interest.

Today, Americans select from a media smorgasbord that spreads across 24-hour television, websites, radio, newspapers and magazines, and social media.

Three-fourths of people in this country see or hear news daily, including six in 10 adults under age 30, the study found. Nearly everyone surveyed said they enjoy keeping up with the news, and most prefer it comes directly from a news organization.

People watch local TV newscasts to see stories on crime, traffic, weather and health warnings, while cable channels draw viewers interested in foreign news, politics, social issues and business stories. Readers prefer newspapers — print or online — for local news and coverage of schools, education, arts and culture.

Three in four young adults who carry cellphones use them to check the news, but today’s young people think of news differently than previous generations did, Rachel Davis Mersey, an associate professor at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, said. Their broader definition includes anything happening right now. — Greg Beaubien



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