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Suburbanites are the biggest news junkies, study finds

REUTERS/Jason Reed
A new Pew study suggests major newspapers' shift of resources to suburban coverage may have been justified.

For decades, major newspapers have devoted a growing share of resources to suburban news coverage.

Journalists — nearly all of whom would rather cover a big city than a sleepy suburb — invariably complain about what they see as a crass business decision. Just as invariably, the financial side prevails.

It turns out that the bean counters were onto something. Suburban dwellers are more interested in the news than their urban counterparts — and more willing to pay for it. That’s according to a new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

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Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project
Besides being more interested in the news, residents of suburbs were also more likely to believe they can make a positive impact on their community.

Pew broke residents into four geographic groups: large city, suburb near large city, small town and rural. And suburban residents ranked highest on a range of measurements of engagement with the news. Suburban residents are most likely to:

  • Say they “enjoy keeping up with the news”
  • Follow national news closely
  • Follow news of taxes, traffic and transportation, and housing (no surprise there, perhaps)
  • Follow news of restaurants, clubs, arts and culture (big surprise there, perhaps)
  • Watch local TV broadcasts and listen to local radio broadcasts
  • Have a paid subscription to a local newspaper
  • Participate in local news by posting comments, emailing stories or sharing links on Facebook and Twitter

At one of the newspapers I worked for, I spent a couple of years in a suburban bureau office. I fought like hell to get out of that bureau and into the main downtown newsroom.

Funny to think that I may have been fighting to get away from the very people who were most interested in what I was doing.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 10/01/2012 - 09:21 pm.

    I guess…

    …us city folks are too busy dodging bullets to sit and watch the TeeVee News. Or maybe we’re too busy participating in our neighborhoods to be couch potatoes. I grew up in a small town that became a suburb, I’ve lived in suburbs, small towns and now in the city. I feel much more a part of Northeast then I ever felt in the burbs, that’s for sure. It does seem that the burbinites do watch the news much more than I do. That’s were my opening comment comes from: by watching the News, listening to the Radio and reading the Paper, they have come to the conclusion that stepping out the door in the City puts you at risk of being shot. Maybe someone should do a study on the accuracy of the information these folks are receiving.

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