TV news consumption by youth higher than newspapers

Young Americans are “estranged from the daily newspaper” and depend more heavily on television than the Internet for their news, according to a new report from a professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

The report, “Young People and News,” from the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard, found that the news consumption habits of young people no longer mirror those of older Americans as they did a few decades ago. Today, the youth “find a bit of news here and there” and don’t make news a regular part of their lives.

The report, prepared by Thomas Patterson, Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press, is based on findings of a national survey of 1800 randomly sampled teens, young adults and older adults.

While a significant finding of the report is the dismal newspaper readership habits of the young, television did somewhat better. Roughly 30 percent of young adults and teens claim to watch local and national TV news daily. About 25 percent said they seldom watch. That compares to 60 percent of older adults who watch local and national TV news daily.

TV news viewership among the young is somewhat better than the newspaper readership numbers, the report said. Sixteen percent of 18- to 30-year-olds said they read the newspaper daily and 9 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds who see the paper daily.

The report also found that by a ratio of three-to-two, older respondents said they watched most or all of a TV newscast, rather than sampling the newscast and switching to something else. “The ratio was nearly the reverse for teens and young adults,” the report said.

To read the report, visit