The lede from Pew’s latest report about American news consumption habits:

As many newspapers struggle to stay economically viable, fewer than half of Americans (43%) say that losing their local newspaper would hurt civic life in their community “a lot.” Even fewer (33%) say they would personally miss reading the local newspaper a lot if it were no longer available.

As far as young people go, in particular…

Not unexpectedly, far fewer young people than older Americans say they would miss their local newspaper a lot if it were to close. Less than a quarter of those younger than age 40 (23%) say they would miss the local newspaper they read most often a lot if it were to go out of business or shut down. That compares with 33% of those ages 40 to 64 and 55% of those age 65 and older.

But!

However, many more of those younger than 40 (41%) say the shutdown of their local newspaper would hurt the civic life in their community a lot. About the same proportion of those ages 40 to 64 (42%) express that view, as do 51% of those 65 and older.

Also food-for-thought-worthy:

Democrats and independents are more likely to say their communities would be hurt by the loss of the local newspaper than are Republicans. About half of Democrats (49%) and 47% of independents say civic life would be hurt “a lot” if the newspaper shut down, compared with 33% of Republicans.


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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.