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WHERE DO WE GET OUR NEWS FROM?

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 11, 2014

BRYCE ON NEWS

– Is it about accessibility or reliability? Or does anyone care anymore?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I recently asked my readers where they got their news from. It wasn’t exactly a scientific poll and I received a modest number of people participating, just enough to reveal some interesting facts which I believe to be true.

In the old days, the main source of my news came from the daily newspaper, network television, and weekly magazines, such as “Newsweek,” “Time,” “Life” and “Look.” This, of course, all changed as many more news outlets have been introduced. Because of this, I no longer read the newspaper as voraciously as I did, primarily because I no longer trust the writers. It has been my experience they are more interested in selling newspapers than writing unbiased truth. The same is true in television, and the magazines are now extinct for the same reason. Regardless of what the press says, it is not about venue or packaging, it’s about content. This has caused people to look for new sources to replace their predecessors who are rapidly fading from view.

In my survey, I asked people to list all of their sources of news, not just one. According to my survey, the Number One source is now the Internet, which should not be a surprise. Instead of trusting a single news source, such as a specific newspaper or television network, people have discovered they have to dig for their news, and what better vehicle than your web browser? Today, web sites such as Google News, Yahoo! News, The Drudge Report, and Brietbart have replaced newspapers, which was listed way down on the list, tied for seventh place. These Internet services monitor several news sources, and display them on a single page. This approach prohibits a single news source from spinning the news one way exclusively.

The number two source for news was the Cable News Television Networks (e.g., CNN, Fox, MSNBC). Interestingly, they easily trounced their prime time network predecessors (ABC, CBS, NBC). The fact people turn to cable news is indicative of their need for accessing news immediately, as opposed to waiting for sporadic reporting from the networks.

At Number Three was AM Radio, which was way ahead of XM Radio (tied for #7), FM Radio (#12), and even Network Television (tied for #4). This tells me people are still listening to AM for news as opposed to music on FM or XM.

The top three news sources in the survey (Internet, Cable News, and AM Radio) suggests people want quick access to the news, and they want more factual information as opposed to “spin” as touted by a single news vendor.

Here are the most popular sources of news according to my survey:

1. Internet (e.g., Google News, Yahoo! News, News Networks)
2. Cable News Television (e.g., CNN, Fox, MSNBC)
3. AM Radio
4+5. Network Television (e.g., ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS), Daily Newspaper; (tied)
6. E-Mail blasts
7+8. XM Radio, Newspaper (read Now and Then); (tied)
9+10. Weekly News Magazine, Social Circles (School, Office); (tied)
11. Other (e.g., Comedy Central)
12. FM Radio

I also had one person admit he/she does not regularly follow the news. Whereas my survey was answered by adults, a couple of years ago I tried a similar survey among 100 high school Juniors (I was making a presentation as part of the “Great American Teach-In”). As these young people would be voting in the next election, I was curious how they accessed their news. Of the 100 Juniors present that day: two boys claimed to read the newspaper (even if it was only the sports section), one watched network television, and one watched Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart on his smart phone. The rest of the Juniors did not follow the news which seemed rather strange to me, nor did it seem to surprise anyone. They were simply not interested in current events.

Even though there are more venues today, I suspect most people are clueless as to what is going on in the world. Maybe they’re simply apathetic, or maybe they no longer trust the news. Actually, I suspect it is a little of both. The results from my survey leads me to believe it is less about news venue, and more about content. True, we want immediate access to the news, but more importantly, we want it to be reliable and trustworthy, and this is something we are having trouble finding in the 21st century.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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6 Responses to “WHERE DO WE GET OUR NEWS FROM?”

  1. Larry Miglore said

    “Most people are clueless….”  Bruce, they don’t even suspect!  

    Like

  2. Tim Bryce said

    An S.F. of Chicago, Illinois wrote…

    “As news feeds have become consolidated under huge corporate bannerheads, consumers have to assess the political agenda of the corporate parent when reviewing the news stories. Most people are not about to do that extra research. Instead of independent and investigative news sources, we have centralized, and in some cases global conglomerates holding vast numbers of local news outlets from radio to television, and print media as well. As mega business, the media becomes about generating revenues to sustain the huge enterprise, and that results in news becoming more about entertainment or shock value than truth and analysis. We also live in culture without patience. They want their information in tiny sound bytes which allows no room for in depth reporting and research. People seem to forsake written items in favor of a brief video online….like the adult version of Sesame Street, always changing and moving on to the next topic. Just look at NBC news online and it’s changed format. I would hazard a guess that at least 50% of the news articles are short video clips rather than written pieces. And few people feel that they have the time to cross check stories across other sources and media for further information.”

    Like

  3. Hi Tim,
    In my lovely little paradise in Mexico local news is pretty well non-existent with the exception of a weekly newspaper (in English) from Guadlajara 30 miles north. I have cable television which has news broadcast from New York and L. A., neither of which interest me much and the very untrustworthy and belligerent CNN… they still on that Malaysian airplane thing? I also get on-line the newspaper from the city I came from in Canada which is so full of liberal slant the ads, crosswords and two comic strips are all that I follow… oh and a quick look through the obits. I am living very well without the daily bludgeoning at the hands of the media… thank you!

    There was an event last week in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada where 3 R.C.M.P. (Mounties) Officers were shot by some loonie-toon and I saw one thing that stunned me and at the same time boosted my appreciation of, at least, this one media outlet (called Sun Media)… they REFUSE to publish or air the 24 year old lunatic’s name that perpetrated this atrocity. CNN (and national media and newspapers in Canada) would have more about the idiot than the good men he brutally shot… ALL MEDIA could take a lesson from Sun Media… all the idiot is looking for is what they all give him… publicity.

    As a kid, I delivered newspapers… I didn’t really read them except for cartoons. AM radio was all there was and it had a limited range. TV started in my area when I was 12 and the news was not high on the list of things to watch. The Korean War was over and Viet Nam hadn’t started. The Canadian Football league was way bigger than NFL and baseball was the Topp cards I collected… by the way, my favourite team was the Brooklyn Dodgers and my favourite player was Roy Campanella. As I grew up, big events that occurred were written up with multi-photographs in magazines like Life… many of these magazines I still treasure even here in Mexico and have them with me to look over from time to time… by the way, very little was ever mentioned about the idiots that shot the Kennedy brothers as an example although they did have the odd photo and their pitiful names (can anybody remember the names of any of Charles Manson’s victims?).

    As far as internet news like Yahoo and the likes, their name says it all! Sensational “headlines” to stupid stories about semi-nude “celebs”, rap “singers” being arrested and the latest run of photos of the “shoppers” at Walmart… not much for news. The sports you have to go through so many links to find a score that I don’t bother with that anymore… at all!

    I now get the news when I get the news and I find that it has to be something fairly important before it reaches me… you see I hardly ever turn on my TV anymore, still do crosswords (and even on line) and am enjoying life more than “all that” ever let me!

    Like

  4. “Following the news” today has become complicated.

    First, ‘being informed’ has never been very easy. As I used to tell my frustrated students, there is a certain ‘critical mass’ of background understanding necessary to see the real importance and implications of nearly every story. Given that, ‘the news’ tends to be just a hodge-podge of random information until life experience or persistent effort begin to make it all fit together.

    Second, media bias requires both that one’s filters be up and running all the time AND that a variety of view points be explored, if the objective is really to be informed (i.e. beyond merely having the symmetry of our own biases reinforced).

    Third, cable and internet have resulted in an explosion of sheer coverage volume. Stories of only local interest a decade or more ago are now part of our network news. Remember when it was a big deal for a local story to be ‘picked up on the wire?’ Now it’s all available and in our faces 24/7. So, include trivia filters in the equipment inventory, as well as upgrades to the bias filters to deal with editors’ ever more subjective decisions on what to run.

    Finally, though just scratching the surface, there is the problem of assimilation. Tim, you mention those HS juniors, and I would observe that, for younger people especially, current events have rarely been a real priority. What’s happening in the world largely takes on its importance to us as we (1) are able to think well beyond our own narrow interests and (2) as we discuss issues and events with others: preferably in-depth and over time. I don’t see/hear either happening nearly so much as was once the case. As a consequence, our understanding of current events tends to remain relatively superficial and simplistic: a reality only exacerbated by the sound-bite format in which we get the information. “Hey, how complicated could it be? MSNBC just gave me the ‘whole story’ in 35 seconds!”

    Like

  5. Dennis said

    PBS Newshour is the most ‘agenda’ free – they pretty much do the stories without the commentary

    Like

  6. […] WHERE DO WE GET OUR NEWS FROM? […]

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