Think you’re freely choosing all your own news? Or that you’re getting the same flow of information everyone else is? Not the case. A new study from the Pew Research Center demonstrates that where you live affects your news diet, the Nieman Journalism Lab reports.
This is important for parents to be aware of both because it affects how educated we are about the issues that affect our kids, and because it shapes the way our kids will learn to consume media.
A lot of the findings are self-explanatory. For example, suburban commuters tend to listen to the radio more than others, presumably on their long drives to work.
People in different geographic areas have some key things in common. The Nieman Journalism Lab reports:
Across the board, residents track local news more than other kinds of news. Weather is the most popular kind of news, followed by breaking news and politics. Most residents in large cities, small cities, and rural areas reported relying on word-of-mouth for news.
I’m probably a slightly unusual news consumer, because I work in media. I consume a lot of news, on a lot of different topics. I get news from all kinds of sources: my RSS feeds, Twitter and Facebook, my colleagues here at Strollerderby, my friends and family. Most of it comes through the Internet, though I do listen to the radio and use a few apps on my phone for things like weather and headlines.
What this article made me wonder about more than anything was how kids get news. My daughters don’t have a laptop or phone they can plug into. They don’t have Twitter accounts and RSS feeds. We haven’t subscribed to a daily newspaper in their lifetimes. How do they find out about the world?
Mainly through the adults in their lives, I guess. Even more than most of us, kids rely on word-of-mouth for news of the world, and the word-of-mouth they get is heavily edited for what their particular adults consider age appropriate and relevant. I don’t see a way around that. My youngest kid can’t even read yet, and I’m not about to get my 8-year-old her own subscription to the New York Times, or a device to read it on.
This makes me feel like I have a particular responsibility to my daughters, to give them access to news and information in a way they can understand and digest. It also prompted me to look for kids’ news sources. Here are a few I dug up:
What news sources do your kids use? Do they get their news from the same kinds of places you do? How do your news consumption habits stack up with your peers?