“I read the news today, oh boy.”
– Lennon & McCartney

Hoping this isn’t an April Fool’s joke (dateline April 1), I’m heartened to see results from this McKinsey study showing adults under 35 have increased by nearly 20 percent their consumption of news since 2007. Moreover, a greater proportion of them “profess a growing interest in getting news from print newspapers.”

As the spouse of a print journalist and a long-term believer in the value of: (a) the value of local/state newspapers in democracy; and (b) the value of being able to hold something of a decent size in your hand (as opposed to my beloved iPhone) whilst eating breakfast in the morning, this news about news butters my bagel, indeed. Until medical science cures how human eyesight changes with age or the iPad becomes reasonable enough for everyone to have, hold and carry around with ’em, print newspapers should be a critical part of our lives. I love the Web and am a techno geek, to be sure; but until Web news can support the kind of journalism that keeps citizens informed about local school board decisions and tax rates, ferrets out corruption and serves as an objective watchdog of government, business and society, the continued health and well-being of newspapers in our democracy must be a societal priority.

Posted via web from Finding the Rhythm

McKinsey Survey: Some Hope for Newspapers in Greater News Consumption by Young

By Mark Fitzgerald

Published: April 01, 2010

CHICAGO A new survey of news consumption in Britain should comfort newspaper publishers everywhere, according to McKinsey & Co. Adults under the age of 35 have significantly increased their consumption of news in the past three years — and they profess a growing interest in getting news from print newspapers.

The McKinsey survey, reported by Philipp M. Nattermann of the consulting firm’s London media and entertainment practice, says average daily news consumption in the U.K. increased to 72 minutes from 60 minutes three years ago — “an increase driven almost entirely by people under the age of 35.”

There’s also more urgency to get the news first in this group, McKinsey found, with about 40% saying they needed to be the first to hear breaking news. This need for immediacy is reflected in younger news consumers’ choice of media: they overwhelmingly prefer to get their news from television and the Internet,” the report says.

But newspapers remain the most trusted medium, with 66% of respondents describing the paper as “informative and confidence inspiring.” That compares with 44% for television and just 12% for the Web.

“This suggests that newspapers have further scope to go beyond news, to drive reader interest and advertising revenues at the same time,” Nattermann writes.

And “interest” in getting news from newspapers has grown, the survey found. Among people aged 16 to 24, interest in newspaper news grew to 64% from 53% in a 2006 survey. In the 25-34 cohort, interest grew to 61% from 51%.

There is an on-the-other-hand, though. This survey finds what countless others have: Little enthusiasm for paying for newspaper online content.

“We found that while there is modest potential to increase online revenues, they will be insufficient to compensate for the decline of print,” the report says. “Indeed, even in a hypothetical scenario where online-only versions of existing newspapers and magazines cost 75% less than the print versions, only 14% of news consumers said they would pay for the online content.”

McKinsey’s advice is for newspapers to use that trust factor to find revenue in transactions.

“The combination of editorial content, ads, and selected commercial offers — while clearly separated — benefits advertisers and is of practical use to readers,” the report says.

Mark Fitzgerald (mfitzgerald@editorandpublisher.com) is editor of E&

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“I’ve seen the needle and the damage done,
A little part of it in everyone.”
– Neil Young

Apple attacked by a worm named "Johntw"

Apple attacked by a worm named

Great.  This is exactly what we need right now.

Not only has the market (and our 401ks) being beaten to a bloody pulp by rampaging greed and rampant disregard for the most basic business ethics and fundamental rules of a civilized society, now our economic fortunes are under siege from stupid, mean-spirited twits who spread bogus rumors about companies like an eight-year-old spreads peanut butter on Wonder Bread.

On Friday, October 3, a “citizen journalist” (and boy howdy, do I use that term loosely . . .) posted a story on CNN’s iReport at 9 a.m. that Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs was rushed to the ER following a “severe heart attack.”  The post made its way onto Digg.com and Twitter.com within minutes.  By 9:25 a.m., an online magazine called Silicon Alley Insider had run the story.

Between 9:40 and 9:52 a.m., Apple’s stock dropped nine percent – that’s about $9 billion for anyone keeping score – before the company could deny the rumor.

Let’s run that back one more time.   Twelve minutes.  Nine billion dollars in value.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has said it will investigate the post by citizen blogger “Johntw,” and CNN is distancing itself from the incident saying the iReport post was neither vetted nor reported by CNN journalists.  (Of course, iReport.com still carries the CNN imprimatur and still invites bloggers to submit “Unedited.  Unfiltered.  News.”, but who’s keeping score?)

From BGO’s perspective, this situation is (or at least should be) unacceptable.

More to the point, such vigilante journalism that requires no accountability, responsibility or ethics is simply unhealthy.  For capitalism to work effectively over the long haul, investors, customers, regulators and the public at large must have accurate and objective information on which to make reasoned decisions. The unfettered free-for-all we have today at best breeds skepticism of everything and everyone; at worst, it breeds an economy based more on “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” than Keynes, Smith or Friedman.

Shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater is just plain wrong whether at a Sunday matinee or on a “citizen journalist” Web site.  Reason and accountability must return to our media landscape if we hope to pull ourselves out of the financial death spiral we’re in right now.

Professionally trained journalists (and we counterparts on the public relations side) must play a key role in this effort.  Here’s hoping the Web-free-for-all pendulum swings back soon.

(OCT. 7 UPDATE:  Wired reports that “Johntw” likely could face criminal charges for last Friday’s morning gala.  Here’s hoping the what goes around comes around.)