No offense to those in the broadcasting business, but I hate watching videos.
I mean, I watch TV and movies and things like that for fun, but if you send me a link to a YouTube video you swear will enlighten me on the goings on about the country and/or world, chances are very good I will not be clicking that play button.
I intend to. I usually respond with something along the lines of, “I’m busy right now, but I’ll watch it when I get home,” but I’m sorry, friends, I’m lying to you. Despite my best intentions, I am never going to watch that.
Part of it is that I usually am somewhere either in public or without a wireless internet connection, so I don’t want to disturb people with the video’s noise or waste my phone plan’s data without good reason.
Mostly though, it comes down to personal preference.
I like reading and always have. I like being able to go back over the words, studying them and committing them to memory in a way you really can’t do with a video. I mean, I guess you can re-watch it, but that is just not something I want to do.
That attitude goes double when it comes to how I prefer to get my news, and I’m not just saying this because I work at a newspaper. I truly would rather read my news than watch it.
According to findings by a Pew Research Center survey, this makes me a typical millennial.
The national survey, conducted over the course of a month early this year, found that young adults in the U.S. are more likely to prefer reading their news to watching or listening to it, with 42 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds saying they’d take print over video.
The trend extends to those in the 30 to 49 age range, 40 percent of which prefer reading to watching or listening to the news. However, it’s broken once you get into age brackets over 50, where the majority prefers watching their news to reading.
Those young readers vastly prefer online news to traditional papers with 8 in 10 saying they’d rather go digital. I can’t say I blame them. While I have a soft spot for the physical paper that arrives at my door each day, I admit that I read even the Tribune online in the afternoon more often than on paper in the morning. There are certain things that work better in print and newspaper page design can be pretty amazing, but it’s convenient to pull up the website on my phone when I have a moment.
Their video-loving counterparts are beginning to agree, with 37 percent of those who prefer watching news turning to online videos, rather than the TV broadcast. Those who prefer listening — either to the TV or the radio — are also beginning to turn to the internet.
Granted Pews’ research shows young Americans aren’t exactly enthusiastic about getting the news in the way those over 50 tend to be. They spend less time talking about it, claim they don’t follow it much, and 88 percent say national media do a bad job keeping them informed. (As an aside, I hope someone tells them that if you deliberately don’t follow the news, it’s not the media’s fault you aren’t informed.)
Despite that lack of deliberate engagement, the research shows they spend just as much time chatting about the news on social media as other age groups. In fact, when it comes to sharing, reposting and commenting on news stories, the age groups in Pew Research Center’s study are pretty equal.
This is pretty good news for those of us in the local news business. As detailed in an episode of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” most of those social media posts direct people to our websites, particularly the websites of local newspapers. (Note: I did finally watch that particular video after half a dozen people told me it was a must-see. They weren’t wrong, which just goes to show videos aren’t all bad and I should probably give them more of a chance.)
But more than that, it’s good for anyone who believes in getting the full story and fighting the spread of misinformation. An even 50 percent of Americans 18-29 get their news from the internet, either websites or social media, which can be a bit concerning if they aren’t clicking through the links to get the full scoop.
It shouldn’t be surprising that the younger generations are turning to the internet for news sources; it’s been fairly obvious for awhile. But it somewhat of a shock that in the age of YouTube and Podcasts, they’d rather read it for themselves than have someone read it to them.