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Where do you get your news?

July 14, 2009

Where do you get your news?

By Denise Scammon

What medium do you rely on most for coverage of current events: newspapers, radio, or television? How does your reliance on this medium affect the information and analysis that you receive?

I start my day by reading the local newspaper, the print version. By “reading,” of course I mean, browsing headlines and photo captions. If something catches my attention, I will either read the paper edition of the newspaper later when I have more time, or I’ll visit the newspaper’s Web site. I get some news from Twitter. For example, recently I learned that Michael Jackson had died. I learned that about his death on Twitter. At first, I thought people were joking. But, after reading several posts about his death, I clicked on a link included with a post. The link went to a news site. I have an RSS reader, but I don’t use the RSS reader to keep on top of the news. If I did that, the RSS feed would be continuously streaming updates. I use the RSS feed for blogs that cover topics I am interested in and which might have one or two new articles posted each day.

As for television, I have the news turned on while I get ready in the morning and while I make dinner in the evening. If something catches my interest, I pay attention to the broadcast. I do not purposely turn on TV to “watch” the news. If I need more weather information, I watch the Weather Channel. I don’t turn on the radio to listen to the news. If I am driving in my car and the radio is on – which it usually isn’t, as we listen to music from our iPods or CDs – I don’t switch channels to find the news. If the news comes on the radio, I switch channels to find more music. I will listen to weather updates on the radio, but I don’t seek them.

What does this mean? My most relied on news source is the printed newspaper, followed by news sites online. Posts from friends on Twitter and Facebook and other real time micro-blogs are incidental to how I get news. If someone makes a newsy post, that’s great, but I’m not counting on random posts as my news source.

My reliance on newspapers relates to my trust in journalism and newsroom ethics.

I received a few comments on this topic, via Twitter and my blog:

Wayne says, “From most to least relied on: Radio, Internet, newspapers, television. I rely on radio the most because I can listen while commuting each weekday. Internet second because I spend a lot of time online at work and at home. Each Sunday, I get the newspaper delivered. I enjoy reading the paper Sunday mornings with a cup of coffee. Television news schedules rarely seem to coincide with my schedule. Being reliant on radio, I usually only get soundbites. If I want to follow up on a story, I will go online to a print media web site to get more information.”

Jeff Sonderman says, “1) Internet: Newspaper sites and links shared via Twitter. Twitter is almost always first to sound an alarm on breaking news. I use it as an early-warning system, then follow links and searches to find more details from media outlets.

2) Cable TV news: Browsing in the morning and evening to get a sense of what their agenda was for the day. Often disappointed, though.

3) Printed newspapers: Browse in the morning, but usually do most reading online/on mobile.

4) Podcasts. I subscribe to several weekly podcasts where experts go in-depth to analyze trends and developments in the news or specific niches. A good way to recall and understand the significance of all the river of news from the past week.”

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