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More young Americans prefer to read rather than watch the news

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We may be the smartphone-addicted, social media-dependent, attention deficit-disordered generation, but before you jump to any conclusions about the children of the 21st century, consider this — as per a recent study from the Pew Research Center, despite the younger generation’s love for bite-sized content, a plurality still prefers to read their news rather than watch it. Sure, we may not be reading it from a physical newspaper, but we’re exercising our literary skills all the same.

In the latest results released late last week, Pew noted, “When it comes to technology’s influence on America’s young adults, reading is not dead — at least not the news.” Younger adults, in fact, were found to be “far more likely than older ones … to opt for text” when it came to news consumption, and unsurprisingly, “most of that reading takes place on the web.”

While Americans as a whole would rather watch news (46 percent) than read it (35 percent) or hear it (17 percent), these numbers differ rather drastically by age. In fact, it’s the older generation that seems more bound to their television sets — over half of 50 to 64-year-olds and 58 percent of those older than 65 prefer to watch the news. But 42 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 29 would rather read the news — four points higher than the proportion who want to watch it. 

Even among younger folks who would rather watch the news, they’re turning increasingly to the internet, and away from the television. While TV news remains dominant for the time being, Pew noted “evidence that younger adults who prefer to watch their news are beginning to make the transition to doing so on a computer rather than a television.” Already, 37 percent “cite the web as their platform of choice,” which is “far more than any other age group.”

All the same, Pew concluded, “younger adults consistently demonstrate less interest in the news overall.” But don’t give up on today’s youth so quickly — the research center’s work suggests that “in the digital realm, they often get news at equal or higher rates than older Americans, whether intentionally or not.”

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