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While Attention To News Has Declined Overall, Radio Is Holding Its Own.


Just-released results from a seven-year study conducted by Pew Research Center show that the share of U.S. adults following the news “all or most of the time” has fallen from above half (51%) in 2016 to just over one-third (38%) in 2022.


The researcher's ongoing survey of the state of news, information, and journalism in the digital age – the most recent of wave of which was conducted among more than 12,000 participants 18 or older in July and August of 2022 – also found that 19% of Americans said they follow the news “only now and then” in that most recent wave, vs. 12% in 2016. Even the share of those saying they “hardly ever” follow the news increased from 5% in 2016 to 9% in 2022.


“This comes amid changes in news consumption habits, declining trust in the media, and high levels of news fatigue,” Pew's report says.


There is a silver lining for radio in the survey results, however. Since 2020, the first time Pew asked respondents how often they get their news from each medium, the share of those saying they “often” get news from radio slipped just 18.7%, a lower decline than for TV (-22.5%), print (-20.0%), news websites or apps (-26.5%), social media (-26.1%), or search engines (-21.7%).


Even as Americans in all age groups were less likely to say they are following the news all or most of the time in 2022, the breakdown shows that the older the respondent, the greater the likelihood of doing so. Among adults 18-29, just 19% said they follow the news closely, off from 27% in 2016, while at the other end, 64% of those 65+ gave this response, vs. 75% in 2016.


“The recent decline in Americans’ attention to the news has occurred across demographic lines, including education, gender, race, ethnicity and political party affiliation,” the report says, “but the decline is still bigger among some groups than others.”


One of those groups is political party affiliation, where Republicans and those leaning Republican show a far steeper drop in closely following the news than Democrats and those leaning in that direction. While the percent of Republicans closely following the news fell from 57% in 2016 to 37% in 2022, the Democrat trend shows a decline of just seven points, from 49% to 42%.

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