There are two schools of thought about USA Today founder Al Neuharth, who died on April 19 at age 89 in Cocoa Beach, Fla. Some think he helped ruin the newspaper, an institution older than our country itself, by turning it into a paper-and-ink imitation of TV news. Others think he helped modernized a desperately outdated medium and, in so doing, perhaps staved off its demise.
They were our heroes. Woodward and Bernstein brought down a president. The New York Times published "The Pentagon Papers" in the face of government resistance to revealing damaging truths. "Uncle" Walter Cronkite spoke for many Americans when he concluded that the Vietnam War was not winnable. Many in our generation saw the news media as a positive force in society, driving out secrecy and corruption with the "disinfecting" light of information.
Television is still the preferred news source for half of Americans, though it may not retain its dominance for long. While about 60 percent of older adults prefer TV news, just 34 percent of 18 to 35-year-olds say it's their top choice, with 55 percent of this younger cohort preferring Internet news sources. And that's far from the only generational difference in news preferences and interest. According to a recent Harris Interactive poll, the age groups differ not only in their preferred news sources but in the ways they consume and pay attention to news, as well.
Comic strip "Funky Winkerbean," created by Tom Batiuk, is celebrating a profitable 40-year-run in American newspapers. The strip debuted in 1972, featuring Funky, Les and other high-school age characters. But as Batiuk got older, he decided to let the characters age along with him. And like Batiuk and other boomers, they began dealing with adult problems, too.
Granny Goes Viral: Marilyn Hagerty's unpretentious review of the Grand Forks, N.D., Olive Garden has become quite the Internet sensation. But Hagerty is no newspaper novice: The 85-year-old Grand Forks Herald columnist (and grandmother of eight) has been writing and editing for state papers for 65 years.
Here's an article worth reading today from USAToday.com on a recent Pew study about how much time consumers are spending on news these days. (The fact that I got this story perusing USA Today's website just furthers the point of the study!)
A new AARP Bulletin poll shows that the number of folks who read a newspaper as their primary source of news is going down, and people are increasingly depending on other sources of media, like the internet, radio or TV, for their daily news. However, more adults who are 50+ rely on reading the paper over internet or radio. AARP Bulletin reports:
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