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Echo Press Editorial: Newspapers still connect with young people

If people hear something often enough, they’ll often accept it as fact without even questioning it.

Consider the often repeated phrase, “Young people don’t read newspapers.” Or the belief that the under-30 crowd is leaving newspapers and their websites behind and getting their news elsewhere.

Those claims are bogus.

Study after study has found that newspapers are still connecting deeply with young people and are a vital source of information for millennials. A recent study from the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) found that 56 percent of those aged 18 to 34 read newspapers, in print or online, during the course of an average week.

Jim Conaghan, NAA vice president of research and industry analysis, noted, “There is no question that members of the younger generation tend to be more active in using digital media to seek and absorb information they consider relevant to their lives. Newspapers continue to refine existing methods and invent new ones to reach younger generations through their digital platforms.”

Not convinced? Consider these facts:

• Across all platforms, 40 million millennials get news and information from newspaper media each week.

• About 3 million U.S. millennials are mobile-only newspaper content consumers. The median age of this group is 27.

• While it’s true that millennials are constantly connected to news content through sources other than newspapers, such as online videos, blogs, social networks and RSS feeds, they trust what they’re reading in their local newspapers. Sixty percent of those aged 18 to 34 who are using their local newspaper or its website believe it is trustworthy, and 55 percent who use local print newspapers agreed that they operate in an ethical manner and have the public’s best interest in mind.

• A large portion of millennials – 68 percent of those ages 18 to 25 and 75 percent of those ages 25 to 34 – react to advertisements in print newspapers, such as using coupons or visiting a website for more information.

• Young people are accessing the newspaper in ways that were never dreamed of a generation ago. Of the millenials who are online, 71 percent access newspaper digital content in an average month. Also, millenials who have read a newspaper in the last seven days are 112 percent more likely to have used a mobile device for newspaper content than the overall adult population.

So the next time you hear someone say that young people aren’t reading newspapers, set them straight. Tell them young people are still very much connected to newspapers and crave the kind of content their local newspaper is providing. They’re just accessing the information in all kinds of wondrously new ways.

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