Intelligence Squared on news

Big audience last night for an Intelligence Squared debate on news, or more specifically on is “free” threatening news? Diffuse discussion, long on rhetoric and feeling and short on facts. A few of the nuggets….

Media analyst Claire Enders asked the question that most of her fellow panellists wanted to avoid: will the young consume serious news? The more traditionally-minded panellists huffed that the young were always being complained about and puffed that they had never read newspapers much anyway in any era. Enders calmly pointed out that there is plenty of evidence that this younger generation aren’t reading or consuming serious news as much and that the average age of a newspaper reader in Britain is 45.

Enders was not evangelising for online. She said that the average news user on the internet looks at news for 30 minutes a month. The average newspaper reader reads for 30 minutes a day. She linked the fall in literacy to the profusion of digital communication devices, citing the decision by the state of Massachusetts to stop issuing laptops to schoolchildren when literacy rates began to fall.

Last fact from Jacob Weisberg, the CEO of the excellent Slate. The newsroom of the New York Times costs around $200m a year to run. The digital advertising income of the NYT in a year? Around $200m. So may be there are the glimmerings of a business model there – if only the NYT wasn’t so badly run.


Tags: , , ,

Comments are closed.