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79% of U.S. adults go online, but newspaper circulation is down

The Internet has dramatically changed the way that we work and play, speeding up business, lowering barriers to business entry, driving discussions about a myriad of topics, and opening doors to entertainment options we might not have been exposed to otherwise.

The Internet has dramatically changed the way that we work and play, speeding up business, lowering barriers to business entry, driving discussions about a myriad of topics, and opening doors to entertainment options we might not have been exposed to otherwise. This change has also happened extremely quickly, as only 9% of the entire population had been online in 1995 when Harris Interactive performed its first survey of online usage, the same survey that this year found nearly 80% of adults regularly access the Internet. No medium has ever evolved as quickly as the Internet, and now a third of the users report that they access the Net in "some alternate way," other than on a computer at work or home.

Nearly 80 percent of U.S. adults go online (News.com)

At the same time, newspaper circulation is down 2.6% across the country as more and more people go to the Internet for their news. The top newspaper in the country, USA Today, has seen a 1% increase in circulation, but virtually every other paper is down, some by 6 to 9 percent. The news isn't all bad for the traditional media, as a recent study in the United Kingdom shows an increasing number of people supplementing their TV and movie viewing by doing research and using extended features available only online. Educators are also beginning to use the Internet to increase contact with their students through social networking sites like Facebook, though some students report that they prefer to keep their private lives separate from their academic careers. Still, this seems like a losing battle, because the demarcation between online and offline continues to blur as more and more devices keep people connected.

Newspaper circulation off 2.6%; some count Web readers (USA Today) Internet attracts growing TV audience (mad.co.uk) Students tell universities: Get out of MySpace! (The Guardian) I have been on the Net for an extremely long time, and the lines have been blurring for me for quite some time. I have a 6-digit ICQ number, was on Hotmail before Microsoft bought them, and have only used an analog modem once since 1997 (in the hospital after my first son was born). I distinctly remember the day that the President of the company I was Director of Marketing for asked me, "Who in the world is ever going to buy a Web site?" I have not subscribed to a newspaper in about five years, so I have definitely contributed to the decline in print media circulation, but I do see the ways that the Internet supplements traditional media. My wife is constantly looking up TV program ratings, keeping up with which shows are making it and which shows are canceled, and we always decide on what movie to go to through research on the Net. None of this even talks about the lines being blurred by devices like smart phones, PDAs, and the growing availability of Wi-Fi (they even have Wi-Fi at the McDonalds near my house). Are the borders between the online and offline world blurring for you? Has the Internet reduced or supplemented your consumption of traditional media like newspapers, television, and radio?
3 comments
Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

When you think about it; in a way it's good for the environment in the long run. Hopefully a lot of other paper products we use to document stuff will diminish too! One of the good things I like about it is online billing. Instead of paper statements; you can get them in your email. There is a down side to this however(I'm a little paranoid so bare with me). Since everything is now electronic; it is now easier to manipulate. For example, Wikipedia. How many times has a document been modified about a company to cover up something unfavorable? Plenty of times. Also what if someone were to manipulate a persons info in a national identity database. It's been done by law enforcement to give people new lives after testifying in criminal cases. What if it was done under more suspicious or malicious intent or what if everything was "accidentally" deleted including backups?! It could happen. I don't think paper will ever go away. I think it'll be around just for these types scenarios. In any event, we need more trees these days. Now if only we can get rid of those annoying magazines and tabloid rags at the grocery check out!! I, for one, am tired of seeing paper wasted about Britney Spears, Her Babies, and Kevin Federline! Please save a tree, LOL!

Andy Moon
Andy Moon

For me, it seems like it has supplemented, as other tecnology innovations have come along to keep traditional media fresh and up to date (like my DVR, I love my DVR). I also spend a lot of time at the web sites for traditional media outlets like the local newspaper and TV stations as well as for national outlets like CNN. How has the Internet changed your relationship to the traditional media?

DadsPad
DadsPad

in general. A newspaper gives a lot of local news not available on local tv or in national newspapers or online. Even if you go to the newspaper's online site, it contains on a portion of what the actual newspaper has. Or is it just that people think they do not have much time anymore. It takes time to read a newspaper, if you read the entire paper, not just the comics or sports. Older people seem to read newspapers more than the younger. TV news and online news will not always tell you about that accident that happened in your neiborhood, affecting friends. I am not sure the sales advertisments could come in a better way than through newspapers. There have been articles on a flexible display with paper-like qualities that you could use just like a newspaper, but would change frequently from online subscription sources. But if people are not reading newspapers now, what is the advantage? Maybe I am just getting older and not seeing where people will get informed in the future, keeping advantages we have now. :)

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