Who’s Reading What in the World of New Media?

On Wednesday, I discussed the ways that journalists aren’t going to be up to the task of living and working in the New Media, unless they specifically make themselves ready to be. But what makes working in new media so important? Let’s take a look at some hard, cold facts:

Some Hard Cold FACTS that Journalists Need to Deal with if They’re Going to Survive the 21st Century

Wikipedia estimates that in 2008, over half of the population reported getting their news from online media. I can also tell you a few very interesting facts that I gathered from (more well-respected) Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

  • 46% of the population still used traditional media for their news coverage, with the median age being 52. Most did not have above a high school education and preferred images and video over written content. Most were either retired or unemployed
  • 23% of the population used both online and traditional resources. Their median age was 44. They typically were highly educated and had a high median income.
  • 13% of the population, and the youngest population with a median of 35, report that they only get their news online. Over half were college graduates. Most of them had access to the Internet at work, and they were slightly more likely to invest in high technology compared to their elders.
  • 14% of the population reported a lack of interest in any form of news. Most of this population was below the poverty level and had a low level of education.

Where Do Our Journalists Turn To?

The truth of the matter is that society doesn’t need newspapers, but we do need journalists. Right now, no one can predict with any integrity what the “average” cyber journalist will look like five years from now.

However, I really believe that it’s not newspapers that we need; for that matter, we don’t even need traditional journalists.

Instead, we need a new breed of journalist, one who respects that keyword searches reflect the reading public’s desires; a breed willing to meet the public where they are already at, instead of dictating where they “should” be—and take them deeper when the situation requires it, having already met them where they are mentally living.

To do this, not only must this new breed refuse to ride a high horse. They must also understand that, while traditional newspaper-readers were once a “captive audience” to some degree, internet news readers are not.

Not even a revolutionary can predict what will happen next. What we needed is a way  to strengthen cyber journalism in the face of Internet Marketing, Social Media, and the amateur blogger.


Erin Walsh

Leave a Comment