NAA Study Finds Newspaper Readers Drive ‘Civic’

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By: Jennifer Saba

Adults who read newspapers in their youth are more active in civic matters, such as voting or even calling talk radio stations to comment, according to a new study from the Newspaper Association of America Foundation.

MORI Research, which conducted the study on behalf of the NAA Foundation, surveyed 1,500 adults age 25-to-34 and found several ties to newspaper reading habits and voting patterns.

The study asked those polled if they could recall three newspaper influences when the respondents were younger ?- newspapers in the classroom, newspapers as homework assignments, and exposure to teen content in newspapers.

The survey found that 61% of those who started reading papers young voted in a 2006 local election versus 44% of those who had no exposure to newspapers in their youth.

Twenty-four percent of newspaper readers said they donated money to a candidate or an organization compared with 13% who had no newspaper influence.

?The data show civic engagement is more prevalent among those who read youth content and whose schools used newspapers as part of the curriculum, a testament to the role young reader programs play in helping transform young readers into civically minded, engaged adults,? Margaret Vassilikos, senior vice president of the NAA Foundation, said in a statement.

Adults who started reading newspapers young are more vocal. Fifty-six percent of respondents who read newspapers in their youth said they boycotted a certain company because they disagreed with position versus 40% with no newspaper influence.

Eighteen percent of newspaper readers called a radio or TV talk show to express their opinion compared with 5% of those with little newspaper influence in their youth.

Anther finding: Adults who started reading newspapers young — 62% volunteered (vs. 37% of non-newspaper readers), 74% donated money to a civic group (compared to 51%), and 35% helped to raise money (vs. 19%).

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