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Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don't Follow the News

Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don't Follow the News
Author: David T. Z. Mindich
ISBN 13: 9780195161410
ISBN 10: 195161416
Edition: 1
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2004-09-02
Format: Paperback
Pages: 192
List Price: $29.95

At a rate never before seen in American history, young adults are abandoning traditional news media. Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don't Follow the News examines the reasons behind this problem and its consequences for American society. Author David T. Z. Mindich speaks directly to young people to discover why some tune in while others tune out—and how America might help them tune back in.
Based on discussions with young adults from across the United States, Mindich investigates the decline in news consumption over the past four decades. In 1972, 74% of Americans in their mid-30s said they read a newspaper every day. Today, fewer than 28% do so. The average viewer age at CNN is currently about 60 years old. And while many point to the Internet as the best hope for rekindling interest in the news, only 11% of young people list the news as a major reason for logging on—entertainment, e-mail, and Instant Messenger are ranked far higher on their list. Exploring the political, journalistic, and social consequences of this decrease in political awareness, Mindich poses the question: What are the consequences of two successive generations tuning out? He asserts that as young adults abandon the kinds of news needed to make political decisions, they have unwittingly ceded power to their elders. In an engaged and intelligent way, Mindich outlines these problems and proposes real solutions.
An indispensable resource for anyone interested in media or politics, Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don't Follow the News is also ideal for undergraduate and graduate students in journalism, media, communication, political science, American studies, sociology, and education.

Publishers Weekly

Media critic and former CNN editor Mindich takes a common belief-"that young people have largely abandoned traditional news"-and thoroughly examines many related, more obscure trends to convincingly argue that most young Americans who are "tuned out" not only threaten their own generation but also "democracy itself." Using a range of research approaches, from first-person interviews to large statistical studies of audience preferences, Mindich explodes a number of myths about why young people have shunned serious news. Foremost among these is the frequent response that younger generations don't read newspapers because they're watching TV news instead (the Internet, he finds, "does not in itself drive news use"). Mindich shows that younger nonreaders are "the least likely to consume TV news," and he is most concerned with the loss of new consumers of print media; while he gives a number of examples of how papers have "dumbed down" the news to attract young audiences, he's acutely aware of how papers struggle between maintaining high standards and sustaining profits. Mindich also presents a devastating analysis of how national television news panders to young viewers with "news-as-entertainment" options. But the book's real virtue is the way Mindich marshals statistics to support his challenge to news organizations "to create a society in which young people feel that reading quality journalism is worthwhile." Illus. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.