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Generational divide: How each generation has changed news consumption

Big changes are coming to the way Eastern Idahoans get their news. Two of the area’s largest newspapers announced changes to their coverage Tuesday.

According to an article in the Idaho State Journal, the Journal will cut Saturday publication, making last week’s Saturday edition its last. The Post Register said it is putting an emphasis on local content, eliminating everything but “local news and information.”

“This is part of an ongoing evolution that began many years ago as local newspapers continue to focus more on the things they do better than anyone else in the world — local news, information, and marketing,” Post Register Editor and Publisher Roger Plothow, said. “We will continue to provide an overview of national and world news and, through our collaboration with other daily newspapers in Idaho, the best coverage of Idaho news available anywhere.”

Both papers say the big factor behind the decision is the changing habits of Americans, more people are finding their news online.

The generational divide was evident in the KIFI/KIDK newsroom. One of the most familiar faces, that of KIFI anchor Karole Honas, who is a Baby Boomer, is what you could call old-fashioned.

“This is how my world is changing and it’s not in a good way,” Honas said. “I like my paper.”

Honas still prefers the feel of the paper between her fingers and the idea of them turning black from the ink, even cutting out articles to refer back to.

“Lots of time they are research and I keep them under my calendar at my desk because I know that story is going to come up or I am going to have to emcee something about that topic so I re-read it all and have it at the time on my brain then,” Honas said.

Karole’s love for print is diminishing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found between 2001 and 2016 there was an 18 percent decline in newspaper industry businesses. Between 2007 and 2016, internet publishing saw a 150 percent increase. The result of the millennial crowd, like KIFI morning anchor Alasyn Zimmerman.

“I’m just constantly consuming things on the internet,” Zimmerman said. “Even when I am shopping online, I think information comes in. Whenever.”

The move to online by more Americans is what is driving both the Idaho State Journal and the Post Register to make changes.

“I actually enjoying news and in-depth articles, but I would just do it on the internet rather than pick up a hard copy,” Zimmerman said.

For those in the middle, the Gen X generation, people like our Todd Kunz, the best of both worlds is the goal. Kunz gets his news online, but his leisure reading is done the old-fashion way.

“If I read a book, I want the book in my hands,” Kunz said. “So, if I go to the library, I want a book in my hands. I won’t read an e-book.”

The Center for Generational Kinetics says three things define a generation: parenting, technology, and economics. With every view of each generation in the KIFI/KIDK newsroom, came a change in technology, possibly proving the decline of newspapers really is a generational issue.

The number of people employed by the newspaper industry has declined over the years. In January 2001 the industry employed 412,000 people. In September 2016, that number was down to 174,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found television jobs have held steady since 2001.

Article Topic Follows: News

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