Five Trends of the “New” News Consumer

I recently received the fortunate opportunity to join dozens of the nation’s leading communications counselors at the Worldcom Public Relations Network’s Americas Region Meeting, Sept. 22-25. Worldcom is the world’s leading network of independently owned public relations counseling firms, boasting 105 offices – in 91 cities – in 40 countries – and on 5 continents. Standing Partnership is the only firm in St. Louis that is part of this talented group of people.

One of the benefits of attending these meetings is collaborating with today’s information leaders. While at the meeting, held in Cleveland, Ohio, we discussed the “new” news consumer and the future of news with Amy Mitchell, award-winning Deputy Director for the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ).

Mitchell provided conference attendees with highlights from the PEJ’s annual report on the state of the news media. Standing communicates with media regularly as part of our overall reputation management approach. So, after hearing from Amy, I was pleasantly surprised that research suggests traditional media still represent an important space in the information world.

A few key takeaways that I found most interesting:

1. Americans are “news grazers” – some 92 percent get their news from multiple platforms throughout the day.

2. Of those people, they pick very few and specific platforms: at least 57 percent of people get their news from only 2 to 5 sources. On average, people only spend 3 minutes and 6 seconds on each platform, before moving on. What that means for us: we must QUICKLY tell our story.

3. The notion that the news media are shrinking is mistaken. Traditional media are still needed to amplify information and draw readers in. When bloggers refer to links, more than 90 percent of links are to news stories.

4. When it comes to audience numbers online, traditional media content still prevails, which means the cutbacks in “old” or “traditional” media heavily impact what the public is learning through the news. Traditional media hold 67 percent of the top Nielsen news sites. And, much of the new content online is aggregated from the traditional media.

5. On the flip side, technology has shifted the way people hear about first accounts of events, such as the first photos and videos posted from the Hudson River crash. This means that traditional media must disseminate news more quickly and reactively, versus proactively.

Readers, I’d love to hear your viewpoints. Is this surprising to you? And, what’s the next step?

Stay tuned for more in the coming days. I’ll post five more pieces of data that indicate where we might be headed.

  • Marijean

    This is not surprising to me, based on my own patterns and those of people in my network. Telling news quickly should be a focus for all of us serving clients that generate news and honing the skills that allow us to share that news in as few characters as possible should be a priority.