Study: Newspapers That Attract Teens Retain Them as Adults

By: Jennifer Saba

A new study shows that teenagers who read the newspaper continue the habit as they get older — sort of. According to the Newspaper Association of America Foundation, 75% of those surveyed between the ages of 18 and 24 who said they read the a newspaper when they were younger (13-to-17) now read their local paper at least once a week.

Eighty-one percent of those surveyed said they read the local Sunday paper in the past four weeks and 66% said they read it last Sunday.

MORI Research conducted the study on behalf of the NAA Foundation. More than 1,600 18-to-24-year-olds were surveyed. The research was released today during the NAA Foundation?s 2006 Young Reader Conference and is a follow-up to a 2004 study that involved newspapers in the classroom.

Taking the studies together, the idea is that newspapers should have content aimed at teenagers. The foundation estimates that only 220 newspapers across the country have special teen sections, many written by teenagers. The study also noted that roughly 800 papers carry some sort of syndicated youth content for all ages.

The study shows that when teens pick up the paper they are more attracted to stories written by their peers (but not by much). Of those surveyed, 30% said that teen content drew them to the paper. Eighteen percent cited content that was written by someone they knew. Sixteen percent cited entertainment news, 10% cited general interest news, 8% cited advice columns, and 4% cited comics.

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