74% of U.S. Adults Still Read Newspapers

Too many newspapers have gone belly-up over the past year, but that’s not because we don’t like reading them. A recent Integrated Newspaper Audience study from Scarborough Research found that 74% of U.S. adults (nearly 171 million) read a newspaper during the past week (at least, the week before the study was conducted). Here’s the catch – they read the paper in print or online. So much for my optimism about my printed daily staying around for another decade (although, their chances are better than others).

Of no surprise, the study also found that newspapers continue to attract educated, affluent readers – specifically:

  • 79% of adults employed in “white collar” positions
  • 82% of adults with household incomes of $100,000
  • 84% of adults who are college graduates or who have advanced degrees

This isn’t necessarily groundbreaking research, as I don’t think too many people doubt the fact that educated readers with more disposable income still choose to get some of their content from newspapers – be it print or online. Of all media, print continues to be among the most trusted form of media content – through the trust has declined across the board in recent years.

From a journalism standpoint, I like seeing data points like these. If I were working as a newspaper journalist, I’d like to know that my content still has a lot of value for readers, despite the state of the industry and the health of the economy. From a public relations standpoint, it’s important to recognize the power of newspapers to influence audiences as more credible media than some emerging channels. I still love to pick up The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal in print form. Then again, I also like the online versions of both publications.

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