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At a rate never before seen in American history, young adults are abandoning traditional news media. Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don't Follow the News examines the reasons behind this problem and its consequences for American society. Author David T. Z. Mindich speaks directly to young people to discover why some tune in while others tune out—and how America might help them tune back in.
Based on discussions with young adults from across the United States, Mindich investigates the decline in news consumption over the past four decades. In 1972, 74% of Americans in their mid-30s said they read a newspaper every day. Today, fewer than 28% do so. The average viewer age at CNN is currently about 60 years old. And while many point to the Internet as the best hope for rekindling interest in the news, only 11% of young people list the news as a major reason for logging on—entertainment, e-mail, and Instant Messenger are ranked far higher on their list. Exploring the political, journalistic, and social consequences of this decrease in political awareness, Mindich poses the question: What are the consequences of two successive generations tuning out? He asserts that as young adults abandon the kinds of news needed to make political decisions, they have unwittingly ceded power to their elders. In an engaged and intelligent way, Mindich outlines these problems and proposes real solutions.
An indispensable resource for anyone interested in media or politics, Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don't Follow the News is also ideal for undergraduate and graduate students in journalism, media, communication, political science, American studies, sociology, and education.
1. A Generational Shift
2. How Tuned Out Are They?
3. Talking with Young People I: Striptease News and the Shifting Balance between Need and Want
4. Talking with Young People II: Who Follows the News and Why
5. Television, the Internet, and the Eclipse of the Local
6. The Decline of General News and the Deliberative Body
7. Conclusion: How to Tune Back In