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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

WHERE DO WE GET OUR NEWS FROM?

BRYCE ON NEWS

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

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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.

NEXT UP:  THE NEED FOR CONCEALED WEAPONS CLASSES - Why it should be considered mandatory to attend such classes.

  - Designing systems to cross cultural boundaries.

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