When I was a kid in Winnipeg and my family went out for a drive, the radio was tuned to CBW, which I found a bit dry and dull (hey, there was no music, no Edison Lighthouse). But even at a young age I recognized that grown-ups liked CBC’s ‘content’. And I thought maybe CBC radio is a rite of passage, something you grow into and appreciate when you’re an adult.
Which brings me to last week when I was lecturing on PR to a group of 3rd and 4th year students at the University of Windsor. I was curious how these young people found their news and information and did an informal poll in the class. Most said they didn’t read newspapers much, which is what we’ve been hearing. They used the Internet to find out what’s going on (and, surprising to me, CBC.ca was one of their favourite sites).
So what does this mean? At first it seemed like yet another example of the impending demise of print. Yes, and this time I’d seen it with my own eyes rather than reading about it in the paper.
But then it occurred to me, they’re tuning into CBC, at a much earlier age than I did. The method of delivery may be changing but the sources are staying the same.
And from what they said, they used social media for socializing (almost all of them blogged on MySpace or Facebook). For news they looked to MSM.
Maybe the newspaper industry has a chance after all. Sure it’s evolving. But that’s nothing new. When was the last time you heard, ‘Extra, extra…’ or read an afternoon edition? Maybe to these students reading the paper is like listening to CBC radio was for me: something you do when you’re older, a rite (or read) of passage.