WAN: The kids are all right

By: Mark Fitzgerald

Don’t blame young people for the worldwide decline in newspaper circulation, said the World Association of Newspapers (wan).
In its latest annual survey of newspaper industry trends, wan for the first time took a close look at the newspaper reading habits of young people around the world. And the results?
“A little, I confess, to our surprise, we found that not only do young people indeed read newspapers in high numbers, but they often read more than do their parents,” President Bengt Braun told participants in the recent International Newspaper In Education (nie) Conference in Paris.
Some examples:
?In Brazil, 55% of 15- to 24-year-olds read a newspaper daily ? a rate 3% higher than the nation’s overall readership.
?In Ireland, 57% of 20- to 24-year-olds and 25- to 34-year-olds are daily readers ? compared to 56% of the general population.
?In Austria, 73% of 14- to 19-year-olds read a newspaper daily.
?In Denmark, 58% of kids from 15 to 17 years old read a paper every day.
?In Portugal, nearly 80% of 15- to 17-year-olds read a daily paper, a number that jumps to 84% in the 18- to 24-year-old demographic.
?And 88.5% of Australian kids between 14 and 24 years old read a newspaper at least once a week.
wan found similar readership numbers among young people in Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
In the United States, wan’s numbers reflected strong readership among America’s youth. Almost 70% of kids 12 to 17 years old, and about 70% of 15-
to 17-year-olds, read the paper at least once a week.
That, according to Braun, helps get the kids off the hook.
“Faced with a decline in the circulation of newspapers in most industrialized countries over the past decade, it has become commonplace to blame the young for neglecting our publications in favor, for example, of electronic media,” Braun told the nie conference. “I am happy to declare that wan has found them largely ‘not guilty’ for our troubles.”

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