Where do people get their news?

WWhere do people get their news?hen I asked my Millennial daughter to change the TV channel to the evening network news last weekend because I wanted to see what I missed in the world that day, she said, “Mom, that’s what Twitter is for.”

She was kidding — but she was also serious.

As the Pew Research Center’s “State of the News Media 2014” report details, more and more people are getting their news from social networks. In fact, Pew reports that half of Facebook and Twitter users get news on those sites.

As an author, you want to know where people go for news so that you can direct your book publicity efforts at the media outlets that are likely to help you reach people who will be interested in your book. And many while people are getting news on Twitter, Facebook, and reddit in particular, the news they’re reading often includes a link to a story on a news media site.

Pew research highlights

Here’s a quick summary of the portion of the Pew research that tells us where Americans are getting their news:

  • Local TV news viewership increased in every key time slot, but early morning broadcasts showed the great gains. Noon news programs also picked up viewers.
  • Evening network news viewership increased slightly — 2.3 percent — in 2013 over 2012. NBC is tops, followed by ABC and then CBS. Morning show viewership increased, too, with ABC’s “Good Morning America” at the top followed by NBC’s “Today Show” and the “CBS This Morning.”
  • Cable news viewership in general declined in 2013, with MSNBC losing almost a quarter of its prime time viewership. Fox’s viewership is more than CNN and MSNBC combined. Daytime viewership is more steady than prime time.
  • Newspapers increased circulation slightly, but a key development with this print outlet is staff cutbacks. The takeway for authors here is that people are still reading newspapers but with fewer staff journalists to generate content, it’s easier for authors and others with writing skills to contribute news in the form of press releases and columns.
  • News magazines have lost 43% of their single-copy sales on average since Pew started tracking them in 2008. While newsstand sales for the Economist dropped 16 percent in 2012, the New Yorker‘s increased by the same amount. Time is up 6 percent.
  • Circulation for weekly newspapers declined, but less than in the past.
  • Traditional radio reaches 91 percent of Americans, but the growth is in online radio, which makes sense, since it’s a relatively new option. Podcast listening has leveled off (just over a quarter of Americans had listened to one in 2013) while satellite radio enjoyed moderate growth.
  • Regarding digital news, most Americans (including my octogenarian mother) now get news in adigital format, with more reporting access on a desktop or laptop and 54% said they got news on a mobile device. Beyond that, 35% reported that they get news in this way “frequently” on their desktop or laptop than on a mobile device (cellphone or tablet).

Let this information guide you as you work to publicize your book through the news media.

Where have you had book publicity success — with newspapers? Radio stations? Local TV?


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Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books. Three groups have recognized her BuildBookBuzz.com site as an outstanding resource for authors, so you know her advice is author-tested.

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2 Responses to Where do people get their news?
  1. Manuel Edburg
    April 29, 2014 | 11:01 am

    News have very short shelf life. That is why the traditional media is getting less popular every year.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      April 29, 2014 | 12:59 pm

      That’s why I don’t read my daily newspaper for “news,” Manuel. I get that elsewhere.

      Sandy

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