Research Says Number Of Print Readers Is Worse Than Expected

As if we didn’t know already, Pew Research Center for the People and the Press has put together a report of the exact number of people reading news in print. Now, we have to warn you, what you’re going to read after the jump is truly harrowing. We say this in advance so those that feel they cannot handle the news can skip this article all together. For those that feel they can bare it, brace yourself. Please do not scream, shout or cry. And whatever you do, publishers, please don’t jump out of a window.

The Pew Research Center announced today that the number of Americans who say they still read their news in print is approximately 25 percent. Last year at this time 39 percent of Americans said they read their news in print. Overall news readership&#151in both print and online&#151is down 14 percent.

Here is the break down by age group:

In 2008, nearly equal percentages in Generation Y (born 1977 or later) read a newspaper online and in print; 16 percent said they read only a print newspaper, or both the Web and print versions, while 14 percent said they read a newspaper only on the internet, or both online and in print. In 2006, more than twice as many in Gen Y said they read a printed newspaper than the online version (22 percent vs. 9 percent).
There is a similar pattern in newspaper readership for Generation X (born between 1965 and 1976). In 2008, 21 percent read only a print newspaper, or both an online and a print newspaper; 18 percent read a newspaper only on the Web, or both online and in print. In 2006, 30% of Gen X read a newspaper in print, while just 13 percent read a web version.
Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and the Silent/Greatest Generations (born before 1946) continue to read newspapers at higher rates than do those in younger age cohorts.
However, the proportion of Baby Boomers who said they read a newspaper yesterday slipped between 2006 and 2008, from 47 percent to 42 percent. The decline among Baby Boomers has come entirely in print readership (from 42 percent to 34 percent).

Okay stop crying. No really, stop crying. Good, now, anyone have any ideas on how to shore up readership for news? Please let us know.

Publish date: April 20, 2009 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT