This March current National Endowment for the Humanities chairman Jim Leach gave a talk at the Nelson-Atkins Museum entitled “Civility in a Fractured Society.” In the lecture, Leach argued that the real gap in America is not between different parties or different faiths but between those who get their news from single sources and those who use multiple news sources.
A 2010 Pew Internet and American Life Project and Project for Excellence in Journal report, Understanding the Participatory News Consumer, found that 92% use multiple sources and media to get their news. On a typical day, 78% of Americans get their news from a local news station; 73% from a national television network; and 61% from some source online.
Getting the news is a community activity for most. 50% of news consumers rely to some degree on those around them to give them the news they need to know (Silverstein 2010, see below).
The act of sharing of news and conversation about news is an integral part of email exchanges and social media activity. Of the 71% of the adult population who get news online, 75% of them say they get news forwarded to them through email or posts on social networking sites. That amounts to 71% of all internet users. When news is passed along to them, 38% of this cohort read the material all or most of the time; 37% read it some of the time, and 23% say they hardly have time to read it. Of these internet users who get news online, 50% say they pass along email links to news stories or videos to others.
But this multiplicity of sources (local and national television; online news sites; print; social networks; email; word of mouth) can be daunting. “70 percent of Americans think ‘the amount of news and information available from different sources today is overwhelming’” (from Barry Silverstein’s excellent 3/3/10 blog post on the Pew Study, “4 Lessons Marketers Can Learn from How Consumers Get Their News”).
Where do you get your news from? Would you be interested in doing a news source exchange with other library patrons? You would swap the tv channels, radio stations, online sites, and other sources you use for news for a week then have a discussion with each other about what you learned, you liked, and thought could be better. Please post below to share your interest.
Finally, for those looking to expand their news sources, here’s a list of good sites for updates on the hourly changing situation in many Middle East countries. Please feel free to suggest others below:
New York Times situations in 9 countries updated throughout the day from a range of sources
Al-Jazeera Narrative updates from revolts in 14 countries
Washington Post 15 countries situations plus overall narrative timeline for region
BBC News News stories and videos from around the Middle East
The Guardian’s Interactive Timeline of Middle East Protests
Le Monde Diplomatique- English version
Fox News Middle East page