More news is good news in developing young readers, newspaper study finds

Saturday, September 25th 2004, 11:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Young adults are much more likely to read the newspaper if they were exposed to it in school, but television remains their primary source of news, according to a study conducted for the Newspaper Association of America Foundation.

More than six in 10 adults who had high exposure to newspapers in the classroom are regular newspaper readers, the report said. Fewer than four in 10 adults who lacked school access to newspapers now read one.

``Newspaper reading is a habit,'' said Jim Abbott, vice president of the NAA Foundation.

``If we can start younger _ the middle school and high school level _ in getting people to see the paper as that thing they really want to turn to for information, then they're going to,'' Abbott said.

The study found that the presence of newspapers in the classroom affected young adult readership even when for other factors during a child's upbringing are considered, such as the presence of newspapers at home, family wealth and the educational level of parents.

The foundation runs the Newspapers in Education program, a venture between schools and newspapers that delivers more than 222 million newspapers to school classrooms each year. It is the charitable arm of the Newspaper Association of America, a nonprofit organization representing more than 2,000 newspapers in the United States and Canada.

The study found that television reigns as the preferred source of news and information.

Of the young adults polled, 44 percent chose television as their top news source, 21 percent said the Internet and 20 percent picked newspapers. But newspapers retain their competitive value as the place for context, background and depth, Abbott said.

The polling firm of Clark, Martire & Bartolomeo, hired by the foundation, surveyed 1,500 adults age 18 to 34. Results were weighted to reflect the sex, age, race and region of more than 67 million young adults. The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.