Monday, August 09, 2010

Journalism and iron demographics

Did I mention that being laid up at home I'm watching more TV than usual? Sadly, I'm reminded even when couch-spudding of some of the reasons for the decline in journalism.

What kinds of commercials do you see on news programs? Well, in addition to the cars and beer and companies promising to get you out of tax trouble, you tend to see a lot of ads for diabetes kits, for various heart medications, for COPD cures and potions to deal with gastrointestinal troubles -- and glasses. And AARP. In other words, the demographic for viewers of televtision news, like the demographic for newspaper readers, trends old. Our best customers seem to be sick and dying, and even if people are living longer these days, which they still are, we're not replacing them with younger readers, a trend newspaper watchers have been noting since the '80s. So the crisis is ongoing. Journalism has to find ways of being relevant to younger people. Being more present on the Web is a good start, but one doubts if it is enough.

Incidentally, I also take from certain television ads that whatever the official figures say a lot of Ametricans still feel like we're in recession. Look at all the offers to sell you gold, which always becomes more popular during inflationary and recessionary times, and to buy your old gold if you're feeling the pinch. They wouldn't keep those "we'll buy your gold" ads on if at least some people weren't responding.

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