News readership continues to drop … dramatically
By Peter Weinberger | email@example.com
I’m going to keep sounding the alarm. I really do not want to add to our readers’ worries and concerns during the holiday season, but the American public is paying less attention to the world around them in the form of fact-based journalism.
A recent survey by the Pew Research Center shows fewer people are paying attention to news. I’m concerned because elections are coming and the current leading candidate for president is a man with dozens of serious federal and state charges against him. Of course, one must read reliable news sources to better understand how this may impact his qualifications.
The decline in local news coverage is particularly troubling. Local news plays a crucial role in informing communities about issues that directly impact their daily lives. Without access to local news, citizens may be unaware of important developments in their communities, leading to a lack of civic literacy and disengagement, and opening the door to political corruption.
The Pew survey is quite sobering, especially concerning is these are not old figures, with major changes starting just seven years ago. In 2016, 51% of U.S. adults followed the news “all or most of the time.” That fell to 38% in 2022, Pew found.
The number of Americans who hardly ever follow the news has nearly doubled since 2016, from 5% to 9%. Pew noted this comes amid changes in news consumption habits, declining trust in the media, and high levels of news fatigue.
The largest changes were among Republicans, who back in 2016 were considered well-informed, when 57% regularly followed the news. By August 2022, that figure fell to 37%. Those who considered themselves Democrats (or leaned that way) who closely followed the news fell from 49% in 2016, to 42% in 2022.
News organizations need to step up too. Pew suggests that news organizations need to adapt to changing consumer habits better and find new ways to engage audiences. This could include utilizing social media to reach wider audiences, investing in digital storytelling techniques, and providing more personalized news experiences.
The Courier is currently promoting a hardcover, photography book called “Timeless Claremont.” This project is our way of reaching out to engage the community. Our website — claremont-courier.com — is open so as to reach more people, ensuring everyone has access to reliable local news.
No matter what is happening around us, as a community we cannot simply raise the white flag, although I fully understand how anyone, including myself, could suffer from news fatigue.
There are various efforts gathering support on the state and national level to force social media giants Google and Facebook to pay publishers for posting their stories. Currently we receive no compensation. These efforts have died in committee before legislatures could even vote on them. That’s why other democracies are making efforts to support local journalism. And some have done so.
There are numerous factors at play here, all of which impact organizations like the Courier. We are trying to stay in business to keep the public informed, but even with strong local support, we aren’t immune to what’s happening nationally.
The good news is I see so many people who donate their time and money to make Claremont a better place to live. We are bustling with nonprofits that focus on contributing to the greater good. We have differences, but let’s not lose sight what a great place Claremont is to live.
I want to thank all the people who continue to support the Claremont Courier. I look forward to meeting you from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, December 2 at our community book launch event at Claremont Graduate University, 1055 N. Dartmouth Ave.