Old Media Wins Election Audience Share

A majority of people who follow election news prefer old media, such as cable TV, rather than new media as a primary source.It’s as if someone bellies up to the bar next to you and says, “I’ll have an Old Style.” But this isn’t a request about a favorite beer, but how thirsty news consumers want their election news.

People who closely follow election news prefer to get voting results by “old media,” such as cable television, according to a story reported by National Public Radio. The NPR report was based on a survey of more than 1,500 persons by the Pew Research Center. It showed that more than one-third of Americans are leaning on cable channels for election news — just as many as in past years — while relying less on local television stations, newspapers and the national networks, NPR reported. 

Social media has been much heralded but relatively little used by average voters, according to Andrew Kohut, president, Pew Research Center. “And the new media kids on the block? The media may be fixated on them,” Kohut told NPR, “but the public is not.”

According to the Pew study, only 2 percent of people sought election news from Twitter, 3 percent from YouTube and 6 percent from Facebook. "These numbers are very modest given all that we've heard about the impact of social networks on this campaign," Kohut says.

"American presidential campaigns still occur largely on television — on the old medium," notes the NPR story, quoting media critic William Powers of the Boston-based digital media company Bluefin Labs. "That's where the narrative takes place. And all this explosion on Twitter is largely people reacting to televised events."