We still occasionally encounter people who argue that physical newspapers and TV news shows have a vital roll to play in the dissemination of news. These folks usually work for physical newspapers and TV networks, of course.
In any event, Zogby’s annual importance-of-news-source poll shows just how fast traditional news media are going extinct. Highlights:
- 67% of Americans think traditional news providers are out of touch with what people want from news.
- 48% said their primary source of news is the Internet (up 20% from only a year ago).
- 38% of 65+ year olds are clinging to TV as the primary source of news, but they’re the only age group that favours a medium other than the Internet as the primary delivery vehicle.
How are the vaunted “national trust” providers of quality journalism doing? (Newspapers). Even worse than you think:
- 29% of Americans say their primary news source is TV.
- 11% say it’s radio
- 10% say it’s newspapers (10%!)
And, as you might expect, that 10% newspaper figure is bolstered by the senior crowd, 17% of whom are still committed to the absurdly resource-intensive practice of consuming news on pulped, printed, and delivered dead trees. (Thankly, only 7% of the 18-29 crowd follows this example.)
No one uses only one medium, of course. And those still employed in the newspaper, TV, and radio business can take some solace in the fact that most Americans still regard their medium as an “important” source of news. (Less important than the Internet, of course):
- 86% of Americans regard web sites as an important source of news.
- 77% say TV is important.
- 74% say radio is important.
- 70% say newspapers are important.
And then, of course, there’s the money stat, which will no doubt be held up by all traditional news providers as proof that the rise of blogs has set civilisation teetering on the brink of collapse:
- 36% regard “blogs” as an important source of news.
Blogs barely existed five years ago, of course, so we would actually read this stat another way (talk about meteoric growth!), but we’ll let traditional news outlets have a few more minutes in the sun.
We are also happy to report that there is good news in the poll for those crazy enough to consider a career in news-gathering:
- 87% of Americans think “professional journalism” will remain vitally important.
We agree! We just think most professional journalists will be employed by other organisations than the ones who have dominated the news business for the last couple of hundred years. And, of course, the poll also clearly shows that professional journalists don’t have much cause to be smug and self-satisfied about their role as gate keepers:
- 77% think “citizen journalism” will be important
- 59% think blogs will be important.