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Newspaper readership is the people who read or are thought to read a particular newspaper.[1] Decline in newspaper circulation and readership does not mean newspaper readership is aging. In fact, declining newspaper circulation and readership is happening at the same time with aging newspaper readership. Looking at the macro vision of aging newspaper readership, general social factors suggest that aging population and new way of newspaper reading by young people (i.e. reading online newspaper articles, reading free newspapers). In micro term, cohort effect, new reading style of non print news articles and cost of newspaper are three of the reasons why newspaper readership is aging. Aging of newspaper readership has impacts on societies and which aging readership has relationship to voter participation.


General social factorEdit


Canadian newspaper readership is decreasing every year since 2007 and the revenue of Canada newspaper is slow.[2] Canada’s newspaper readership is aging as the age average of Canadian aging. Slow growth of Canadian population compounds the newspaper readership together with the aging phenomenon. Though Canadians have increased interest in reading newspapers as they age, the aging population impacts the aging newspaper readership more than the phenomenon of increasing readership as Canadians age.[3]

United StatesEdit

The growth of newspaper market has stopped in 2007 and decline since 2008.[4] Comparing to the data of newspaper market in 2004, newspaper circulation declined 34% in 2009.[4] Newspapers in United States earn profit from advertising. In 2009, 87% of profit of the newspapers market dependent on advertising.[4] The U.S. population is aging, but media consumers’ speed of aging is faster than the overall population (Economist) and this also apply to newspaper readership. Middle-age consumers are considered as the potential consumers rather than younger people.[5] Printed newspapers are abandoning by the young than any other age group.

Loss of newspaper readershipEdit

Long-term Cohort effect and newspaper readershipEdit

Cohort define people according to their birth of year (i.e. 1980-1989, 1990–1999). Cohorts are affected by age and the period of time that the groups grow.[6] These make different cohorts have their only characteristics, and this is called as cohort effects.[6]

Cohort effect is further declining and aging newspaper readership.[7]

According to the characteristics of young cohorts, their readership level is lower than other older cohort groups.[8] Newspaper market does not target only the older cohort, young cohorts are also the targeted consumers of newspapers.[8] Comparing older cohorts to the younger, the way how the young cohort groups socialized is different, there is a negative cohort effect that the younger tend to read less.[8] In term of aging population, previous cohort will be die out and replaced by the younger cohorts. As the average newspaper reading of the younger cohorts is low, newspaper readership aging at the same time with the older cohorts.[8] The newspaper readership gap between young cohorts and the older cohorts is widened.

Newspaper readership decline as less young people read newspaper. Even older cohorts remain the habit of reading newspaper but the amount of them is decreasing as they are aging. Average age of reading newspaper increase because of this cohort and created the result that newspaper readership is aging.

Online news readership and newspaper readershipEdit

The Web becomes one of the main resources for receiving information.[9] Online news readership is increasing as the newspaper readership decreasing. New technologies such as computers, cell phones and tablets play the major role in aging newspaper readership . Online news cost less compare to newspapers.[10] The young cohorts which assumed to replace the older cohorts on newspaper readership have shift to access online news.[11] The competition in Web and other metro markets affect newspaper readership in terms of aging and declining.[11] One notice of how internet/Web impact readership to be aging is that, domestic households with internet access are more likely to end newspaper subscriptions.[11] This phenomenon is even vivid in urban/city areas than the rural areas because of stable and high-speed broadband service.[11]

Advertising and newspaper readershipEdit

Organizations are looking forward to new advertising way that new companies/organizations are advertising through mobile apps and internet in order to make benefits. As this trend is at its beginning, newspaper needs new advertising role.

The impact of ageing newspaper readershipEdit

Political participation among young cohortEdit

Political participation decline as newspaper readership aging. Civic awareness and democratic values are weakening as the newspaper readership aging because of the decrease of reading newspaper.[8] Media in general highlight the famous politicians and their affairs which is different from the traditional role that playing by the newspapers.[8] More and accurate political information gain and maintain by newspaper readers, they are more able to compare and contrast political issues compare to those who gain political information from TV.[8] At the same time, TV viewers are more likely to vote according to the outlook of the candidates and the images created by TV.[8]

Knowledge gap between social classesEdit

People with lower socio-economic status receive information slower than people with higher socio-economic status.[8] People with lower SES receive information slower because they are less educated compared to people with higher SES; they have less time to spend on reading information (they spend more time on working to maintain living quality), have restricted from some information that the high SES have the right or easily access to, and less access to information. Young consumers of the newspaper are people with lower socio-economic status, they read less, spend less time on reading newspaper and require smaller amount of information compare to the older consumers.[8] As the people with lower SES reduce time to read newspapers, their social/political knowledge will decrease as the same time which widened the knowledge gap between people with higher SES and lower SES.[8] People with lower SES tend to gain information from TV, but the information bias to the entertainment than accurate information which make people lower SES learn poorly.[8]

See alsoEdit

Works citedEdit

  • Fitzgerald, M. "Canada Newspaper Readership Up." Editor & Publisher 125. 18 (May 2, 1992): 40.
  • Peiser, W. "Cohort replacement and the downward trend in newspaper readership." Newspaper Research Journal 21.2 (2000): 11.
  • Lee, T.-T. & Wei, L. "How Newspaper Readership Affects Political Participation" Newspaper Research Journal Newspaper Research Journal 29.3 (2008): 8-23


  1. ^ "Readership." Web. 20 Oct. 2011. <>
  2. ^ "Newspaper readership remains strong in Canada." INMA. Web. 20 Oct. 2011. <>
  3. ^ Fitzgerald, M. "Canada Newspaper Readership Up." Editor & Publisher 125. 18 (May 2, 1992): 40.
  4. ^ a b c "UK and US see heaviest newspaper circulation declines." Guardian News and Media Limited. Web. 20 Oct. 2011. <>
  5. ^ "Media's ageing audiences: Peggy Sue got old." The Economist Newspaper Limited 2011. Web. 20 Oct. 2011. <>
  6. ^ a b Keyes, KM; Utz, RL; Robinson, W; Li, G (2010). "What is a cohort effect? Comparison of three statistical methods for modeling cohort effects in obesity prevalence in the United States, 1971-2006". Soc Sci Med. 70: 1100–8. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.12.018. PMC 3469580. PMID 20122771.
  7. ^ Wolfram, P. "Cohort replacement and the downward trend in newspaper readership" Newspaper Research 21.2 (2000): 11-22
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Lee, T.-T. & Wei, L. "How Newspaper Readership Affects Political Participation" Newspaper Research Journal 29.3 (2008): 8-23
  9. ^ Conhaim, W.W. "Newspaper readership threatened by Web." Link-up 18.5 (Sep/Oct 2001): 4.
  10. ^ "Online news readership overtakes newspapers." Duncan McIntosh Company, Inc. Web. 05 Nov. 2011. <"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-11-18. Retrieved 2011-11-29.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)>
  11. ^ a b c d "Newspaper Stocks Fall After Analyst's Warning on Profits." Web. 05 Nov. 2011. <>

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