Survey explores habits of young news consumers

Media companies need make greater efforts to understand young people's news consumption habits, according to the head of Associated Press Television News.

APTN executive director Nigel Baker told Press Gazette: "You get middle-aged news executives who don't understand enough about the news consumption habits of the younger audiences and I think news companies will have to be more scientific in the future about how they examine audience needs in the next 10 or 20 years. Gone are the days when a gentleman with a bowtie and red braces could arbitrarily set the agenda based on his 40 years' experience."

He was speaking ahead of the publication of new research on students' media consumption will be presented at Newswatch06, a conference to be held at Bournemouth University on 8 June.

In the research, which is being conducted by Dr Mark Passera of Bournemouth University, students from Gaylord College of Journalism at the University of Oklahoma and the Bournemouth Media School were asked about their their news consumption and their views about how media use will change in the future.

Baker said: "Often people deride media studies courses, but it's a golden opportunity to pick the brains of those people to discover what is being watched or being read by 18- to 25-year-olds. Once they get into media jobs they often become so overwhelmed by the established thinking that they think like some of the middle-aged journalists."

Baker said the new survey grew from earlier AP research on mobile phone use that showed that 18- to 25-year-olds do not think of news in the same categories as journalists, such as hard news, sports and entertainment.

"News is what is on their own personal agenda," said Baker.

The researchers are now hoping for journalists to complete the survey online.

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