Using an alarmist approach regarding the future of media seems to have been the trend for quite some time. What started as the occasional grumble from bloggers and writers in unconventional media organizations has spread to commentators in mainstream media. While their "journalism is dead" view seems a bit far-fetched, we cannot deny the fact that mainstream media have been in recession for a very long time. This decline is not monopolized by published media, as broadcasting experiences it as well. Turkey has been a bit behind when it comes to facing this truth, but it has tried to undergo change to remedy this decline. Some media organizations have decided to milk the new platform, the Internet, for all its worth, but much of their click-bait and advertisement-oriented business plans are not sustainable.
Whatever our perspective is, it all boils down to a single point: demographics. Media are fighting a losing battle against time because they continue to lose their younger audience and reader base. Here are some statistics from the Pew Research Center:
In 2000, 42 percent of 18-24 year olds were reading daily newspapers. In 2014, however, this number fell to a staggering 17 percent. The 25-34 year old category saw a similar decline, as their percentage fell from 41 to 20. Older age categories experience percentage declines as well. What makes them different though is while one category is seeking new forms of news writing and facing credibility issues with the mainstream media, the other simply changed its platform from paper to the web.
It is clear that the new generation, or more clearly the 18-24 and the 25-34 age categories, will determine the future of consumerism, and every sector must focus on their expectations if they wish to endure in the upcoming decades. Media is no exception. This brings us to discussing new forms of news making.
This week saw one of the biggest changes in the satirical news-making scene as Jon Stewart stepped down as the "Daily Show" anchorman, passing the mantle to Trevor Noah. The accomplishments of Jon Stewart left quite a legacy, but as we said our farewells in a previous article titled "A proper send-off" on March 1, 2015, we will not go into details other than its demographic data.
When we look at cable and network news shows, the "Daily Show" seems to have the most viable business plan when it comes to attracting the young audience. In the U.S., "the median age of Web-using adults who got their news from the "Daily Show" was 36 years last year," according to Pew Research Center. This number was beaten only by the "Colbert Report" with 33 as its median age. Considering that "he "Colbert Report" shares a similar satirical layout and was a spinoff of the "Daily Show" itself, we can draw a singular conclusion. Using satire to deliver actual news is a viable method and is preferred by the younger age group. However, another thing to note here is that these viewers are seeking entertainment as much as news itself, as the 2010 Pew Research Center study on American's news media habits showed. Some 43 percent of viewers tuned in for the entertainment, while 36 percent cared about the views, opinions, latest headlines and in-depth reporting of the show, in other words -- departments of a newspaper.
In light of all this data, Turkish media should explore additional methods of delivering news other than traditional methods. It appears that the uniformity of methods in the mainstream media will not continue to be the answer for a sizeable portion of upcoming generations. However, the most important thing will be finding the perfect mix between journalistic principles and an intriguing approach to deliver the news itself, all without compromising ethics.
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