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I will admit it-- I am one of "those" people who still like to read an actual newspaper... #shockingIknow (and yes I am also one of those people who use hashtags in email, texts and blogs- just to make a point, but that is a blog for another day)!

But why is it shocking?

  • Because I am a “younger” Gen X'er who is supposed to be "into” technology?
  • Because no one reads the physical hard copy of the paper any longer?
  • Because that is what "old" people do?

But on to the point of this blog… Recently I attended the PRSA Western District Conference and one of the sessions I attended was entitled Social Media Barometer presented by Martin Waxman. In his presentation, he discussed the new generation gap and that "40 percent of those under 40 get their news from social media."

What -- 40 percent? This number is staggering to me, for many reasons. Social media has not been considered a "news source" in the past.

  • A way to communicate? Yes
  • A place to stay up-to-date with friends/family/celebrities? Yes
  • A place for reliable news? Well that is debatable….

If it is in fact now a news source how accurate is it? Is this age of super-fast technology also contributing to news outlets trying to be FIRST and providing inaccurate information? Does it matter?

If the “new younger generations are accessing everything online” and according to Waxman "mobility means never having to say you can't reach me" – and the news can always reach you first,  what is going to happen to the print publications and the reliability of news as we know it?


Rachel Brockway
Rachel Brockway
Senior Account Executive Rachel is a native Arizonian, who enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, playing tennis, reading and social media. She’s a busy mom and is passing the idea of volunteerism onto her son. Check out Rachel's Full Bio


  1. Thanks for the mention, Rachel and for attending the session. I’m glad to hear you still read the print edition. I do too – but mostly on the weekends with the Sunday NY Times.

    You make a good point about the quality of the news. That’s something that’s been discussed a lot recently – and especially when the AP Twitter feed was hacked and a false tweet caused the stock market to tumble. (Fortunately, stocks rallied when the hacking was confirmed.)

    Differentiating between what’s true and what’s not is getting more and more difficult. I believe there’s an opportunity for communicators to become trusted curators who can provide people with a filtered and balanced perspective. I also think it’s incumbent on all of us to check and double check sources before we share information and news.

  2. Scott Hanson says:

    And thus the “24-hour news cycle.”

  3. Ken Jacobs says:

    My Dear Ms. Brockaway,
    I still read my New York Times the old-fashioned way. And I still fold it as I was taught to do by my 7th grade English teacher, because growing up in Yonkers, one had to know how to read the paper on the subway in nearby NYC, without encroaching on our fellow strap-hangers’ space.

    That said, having seen me present for 45 minutes, I certainly hope you don’t consider me old!

  4. Natalie Norwood says:

    Having been involved in the small community weekly newspaper for many years as reporter, photographer and editor, I find it heartbreaking that our hand-held, paper news sources are moving in the direction of technology. I love the smell of the old newspaper office, the dusty shelves and the stacks upon stacks of tear sheets accumulated over the years in the dark attic of the office space. That being said, let’s talk quality of news.

    How can the highly competitive industry that is news take the time to be absolutely accurate when you are racing, lunging, for first place prize of delivering a new story? It has occurred to me time and time again that the news industry is so keen to get the story out that “recants” have become common place. It is almost as if just getting a story to the “press” – or the blog site – is primary and any alterations that need to take place can be done in follow-up coverage. It is sad that we do not honor facts, truth as we used to.

    Critical thinking is imperative nowadays to evaluate the news. I read with a “shadow of doubt” frequently and wonder if the “facts” I am reviewing are actually true, and to what degree. I agree with Mr. Waxman that we all must take on a responsibility to assure the news we share is valid.


  5. Chauncey Hendrix says:

    As an individual from “Generation Y” I am in a unique position because I too remember learning in grade school how to read, and fold a news paper just like fellow commenter Ken Jacobs. But I was also introduced to cell phones that could access the web in high school, and the upsurge of social media being somewhat of a most have to stay relevant with friends. I think the figure 40% under 40 access their news from social media is completely plausible.

    I can honestly say I have never even purchased a newspaper for news(shocking I know) and I would be shocked if any of my friends or peers have purchased one in the last couple of years. Not that there is anything wrong with the writing in newspapers, but it is merely for the convenience. I could carry around a paper with yesterdays news, or I could hop on my social media of choice, see what my friends are tweeting or blogging etc. about and investigate from there. While at times this could be dangerous i.e. people hacking/fake news, news that isn’t verified the convince that I can check from my smart phone out weighs the negatives for me. I read everything with a grain of salt, no matter who wrote it, or where I read it at, its just something I learned growing up.

    Hopefully my insight did not sound the alarms of “Death of the Newspaper” to anyone, as much as I love technology and how it makes everyone’s life easier, I would hate to see newspapers and magazines disappear.

  6. Omar Thaiber says:

    In my opinion I don’t believe that hard copy of news will be around for much longer because of the social media that technology is providing! everything in the news is provided faster via social media. The hard copy news requires longer time to be written, published, and be reached to the public. Social Media has become popular in our generation as technology advances.

  7. Tiago Do Prado says:

    I find it fascinating that 40% of those under 40 get their news from social media, at the same time i feel it is inevitable that newspaper are going to be extinct since technology evolves at such a rapid rate making it easier and significantly faster to access news online. now for the argument of accuracy, i agree that the wall street journal that you receive at your door step is more accurate that a Facebook post but you can access wall street news from their website with accuracy and without waiting a week to receive it at your home. There are ways to access reliable news online but because of the wide variety of sources online you will have to chose your online source carefully. If you find a source that you think is reliable such as the wall street journal why not become “friends” with Wall Street on Facebook or follow them on twitter and receive their information instantly as soon as it is posted?

  8. Crystal Begley-Tran says:

    I guess you can say that there is good and back to technology advancing. I remember back in the day you would either get news from the paper (which was usually like 4AM in the morning), the television, or by land line. The thing with that was you had to be in front of a television or by the phone or even next to the new stands that they would put in front of the gas stations or if you were lucky delivered to your front door. Now everything is just to easy,you can get from the internet! You can get access by practically any device now a nook, IPad, smartphone, computer, etc. I will say when it comes to the news I will either watch the television or just go on the internet to NBC or Channel 3. I will say at times I do miss the simplicity of how things were back then compared to now, however I do like the fact I can hold everything in my hand (that is if I do not drop it in the toilet).

    If you were to ask me about books I would say hell to the nook give me my book! I love the feel of a book, the smell of the paper, sometimes getting ink stuck to my hands. Nothing can ever replace that.

  9. I am one of those guilty of reading much of my news online. I do not want to pay for cable and even with a digital antenna the channels can be few and far between, especially in the small town that I live in. I think that hard paper will always have a place in the world. There is something about the tactile action of holding a piece of paper and being able to smell the ink on the page.

    It is concerning how easy it is to create fiction as fact and how lies can be spread before the truth has a chance to come to light. The part about social media being intertwined that really has be surprised lately has to do with the reality that because of these various outlets like Facebook, one can easily access people’s personal pictures and attach them to a story.

    As an example, I saw a link on Facebook from a friend of mine about a woman who delivered her 6th child in Utah a few days ago, died unexpectedly. Attached to the story were dozens of personal family pictures. I know that if one of my family members had just died, I do not believe that I would want them to have unlimited access to my personal pictures. Yet another concerning aspect of being online and sharing your personal information, however careful you might be.

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