Web grabs young and smartest politics-watchers from old media, Pew finds
Monday, January 12th, 2004
Traditional news mongers have just about died and willed politics to the Internauts, according to a survey and analysis released yesterday by the Pew Internet and the American Life project.
In brief: all age groups, particularly the young, are foresaking traditional news sources like nightly news shows and newspapers and mobbing the Internet. People who rely on the Internet are better informed than patrons of any other news media. Nearly one person in three online is doing something political with Internet tools. Here’s the details I dug out of Pew’s report:
- * “The Internet, a relatively minor source for campaign news in 2000, is now on par with such traditional outlets as public television broacasts, Sunday morning news programs and the weekly news magazines.” Today, 13% of the public “regularly” learns about the campaigns from the Internet, up from 9% four years ago. That contrasts with nightly network news, which dropped from 45% to 35% over the same period, and newspapers, which dropped from 40% to 31%.
* The really bad news for old media: its fascination for younger citizens is being eclipsed quickly by the web. Just 23% of 18-29 year olds say they regularly learn something about the election from the nightly network news, down from 39% in 2000. Almost as much of the same cohort, 20%, now rely on the Internet for political news.
* The average Internet reader is also far better informed than folks relying on other media. Asked to identify which presidential candidates were a former Army general and former House majority leader, 39% of Internet fans gave two correct answers, versus 31% for Sunday political TV watchers, 30% for newspaper readers, 21% for those devoted to TV news magazines, 20% for watchers of nightly network news and 14% for local TV news watchers. Tom Brokaw, who’s your Daddy?
* Not only are the folks who rely on the Internet for their election news exceptionally well informed compared to everyone else, they are also particularly politically active. Fully 30% of Internet users engage in some form of online political activity. 18% get candidate information, 18% send/receive campaign e-mails; 10% get information on local activities; 9% visit web sites of political groups; 8% visit candidate web sites, 4% engage in chats, discussions, and blogs. (Pew’s terminology is fuzzy here, but I guess this refers to blog posting rather than blog reading.)
* While generally less political than the general public offline, 24% of all 18-30 year olds are politically active online, versus just 18% of the general public.
Ironically, Meet the Press pundits got together yesterday on TV to paw over the concept of , sounding alternately bemused, scandalized and titilated… like an elderly women’s Sunday school class in 1959 discussing for that new so-called music “The Rock and Roll.”
For the record, Meet the Press pundits said [url=http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3916793/]blog, blogger or weblog 31 times, which must set a record for television. And the transcript makes it sound like they tittered each time. Sadly, Pew’s study suggests that, today, at least 69% of Meet the Press’s viewers still have no idea what a blog is.