Survey shows teenagers want 'proper news' and shun royals

Most teenagers read newspapers to get “a better understanding of important issues” as opposed to celebrity and showbiz news

Newspaper editors can pick up crumbs of comfort from a new survey which shows that the Ipod generation is not as averse to the printed word as some may think.

The research canvassed the opinions of 1,100 Britons -aged between 16 to 19-and found that 30 per cent of them read a national newspaper more than three times a week, 52 per cent less than three times a week and just 17 per cent not at all.

Local newspapers fared better: 38 per cent said they read every edition of their local paper, 31 per cent read it fortnightly or so, 17 per cent read it hardly ever and 11 per cent said they read it only when they know someone in it. Only three per cent said they never read their local paper.

But although most late teenagers said they read a newspaper – the survey suggests that print is far from being their primary source of news.

54 per cent list TV as their major source for news and information followed by the internet (22 per cent), radio (12 per cent) and news-papers (11 per cent).

The survey was carried out over the internet by users of the Government sponsored Connexions card – a scheme which provides incentives for 500,000 young people to stay in education or training post-16.

In recent years most newspapers have increased their coverage of showbiz and celebrities – editors have argued this is necessary to encourage younger readers.

But the Connexions card survey suggests this may be misguided. Most youngsters (52 per cent) said they use newspapers to “get a better understanding of important issues”, whereas 27 per cent said they use newspapers to find out the latest celebrity and showbiz news. Some 17 per cent said they use newspapers for learning and career development.

When asked what they would like to see more of in the press, 41 per cent said more careers and education news and 31 per cent said more showbiz/ entertainment news.

When it comes to celebrities – the younger generation appear far more interested in film and music stars than that traditional tabloid staple, the Royal Family.

23 per cent said the celebrities they most enjoy reading about are film stars, 24 per cent said pop stars, 11 per cent sportsmen and women and just two per cent the Royals. A quarter of respondents said they don’t want to read about celebs at all but would rather see more “proper news”.

By Dominic Ponsford

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