The concern over the impending death of print newspapers is so often cited it has become cliché. It seems old-school newspaper execs everywhere are tearing out what’s left of their hair worrying about the problem. And to some degree it is understandable: After all, these days young people have a seemingly endless array of options available to them when it comes to accessing their news. Niche websites, blogs, late night television are all popular watering holes for the information-thirsty youth of today.
But is it possible that all of this hand-wringing is in vain? The results of a new study commissioned by the World Association of Newspapers and implemented by the research consultancy firm D-CODE suggest that print newspapers still carry a lot of sway with younger readers, including Latino youth in the U.S., Spain and Latin America.
The report cited that, in Spain, younger readers have a penchant for local news as it most directly affects their everyday lives. The report also stated that, “Most participants from Spain said they do not read online newspapers frequently, and prefer reading a printed newspaper over reading off a screen.” One Spanish participant also revealed his preference for free news, saying that it is more likely to be objective and fair in its reporting, whereas paid news is likely to assume an ideological stance.
In Colombia, the report found that print consumption was more gender-related than age related, with respondents citing male dominance in the household and in family discussions as tied-in to their command of current events and family discussions, derived frequently from the printed papers they read.
So, it would appear that while newspapers do need to change with the times and offer compelling content in a relevant manner in order to retain and expand their young readerships, there will always be a place for print newspapers, just as surely as the grandfather scoffing about today’s youth over a copy of the weekend paper was once a youth himself. As one respondent from Spain put it, “I believe that blogs and Youtube are good options to amplify information and learn about different points of view, but these options will not replace serious journalistic articles found in newspapers.”