The lengthy Pew Research Center State of the News Media 2016 report included very eye opening data and trends in the media.
I immediately clicked on the section about cable news because of the crazy election year of 2016. I just knew there was a viewership increase and the data confirmed my assumption. The data stated that cable news viewership increased from 2,844,000 in 2014 to 3,080,000 in 2015.
Obviously the 2016 presidential campaign was a major reason for the increase. This election was very controversial and different from any previous election. I would describe it as the election no one expected. As I read the data I noticed that during election years, cable news receives the most viewership. During the historic 2008 presidential election year, cable news had a viewership of 4,262,000. Cable news is also available 24/7 while local news only comes on at certain hours of the day. Local news is still traditional. It’s straight to the facts and viewers really don’t see the anchors giving their opinions. Cable news is a different story. It’s news, but at times it’s controversial. It’s opinionated. At times it even feels like reality TV and that’s what gets the most viewership. The drama.
I was not surprised to see a decline in newspaper circulation for a second consecutive year. With the rapid growth of digital news and social media, people are not going to newspapers for their source of information. It’s not only easier to read from a smartphone or laptop, but it also provides more choices because readers can have access to numerous news sites at just a click or scroll away. The data says that the weekday circulation fell by 7% and the Sunday circulation fell by 4%. News employment declined by 10% which was more than any other year since 2009. Post graduates made up most of the newspaper’s daily readership with 39%.
After looking over the data I couldn’t help but wonder, what’s next? Not only is the media changing but how we as a society receives information is changing as well. Newspapers should visually change how the newspapers look. Maybe even include technology within the papers. There just has to be more innovation and creativity.
However, change isn’t always good. The internet and technology has turned everyone into mini journalists. As soon as something happens, within seconds there is a tweet about it, a photo, a video or even all three. But a lot of the information on the internet, especially on social media, is very questionable. It’s scary because people will believe anything that they see on Twitter or Facebook without doing their own research. Before journalists can figure out what’s next, they must ask the right question. They must ask themselves, is the current state of news where we would want it to be 10 years from now? If the answer is no, then the change starts now.