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News Consumption Among Boomers Increased in 2010

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The time spent watching, reading, or listening to the news increases with age, according to a Sept. 12 report from the Pew Research Center. Boomers are not the largest consumers of news, but they saw the biggest increase in consumption in 2010. Pew asked respondents to estimate how much time they spent “yesterday” consuming news. The study found the average time spent on the news in one day between 2006 and 2008 was 66 minutes for younger boomers. Older boomers spent 75 minutes on the news. In 2010, that increased to 74 minutes and 81 minutes, respectively.

The 18-29-year-old set, by comparison, actually decreased the amount of time they spent watching, reading, or listening to the news from 47 minutes to 45 minutes. Seniors increased their news-consuming time by only one minute to 83 minutes.

Education also played a part in how much time was spent watching, reading, or listening to the news. Those with a high school education or less spent 58 minutes consuming news in one day in 2010, unchanged from the 2006-2008 average. Those with post graduate education spent 96 minutes with the news, up from the 2006-2008 average of 81 minutes.

Nightly news shows were overwhelmingly more popular than newspapers or radio as a news source. Sixty-two percent of respondents 50 or older said they regularly watch nightly news shows; 63% said they watch Sunday news shows. Fox News hosts Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity are frontrunners in attracting the boomer crowd. Nearly two-thirds of respondents over 50 said they regularly watch Hannity, and 63% said they watch O’Reilly.

Just 45% of boomers read news magazines regularly, though. Forty-four percent say they listen to NPR or read USA Today. Forty-two percent of Wall Street Journal readers and just 33% of New York Times readers are 50 or older,


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