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On Parenting
Posted at 12:35 PM ET, 09/26/2011

One reason why word of mouth is a top news source

This just in: Most people get their local news from either TV news or by word of mouth. How do I know this? From the quick glance of a Post headline I saw this morning before my daughter bounded downstairs declaring her diaper full.


How many parents have time to read the newspaper? (The Washington Post)
The story by Paul Farhi is based on an analysis of a new Pew Research Center report that found word of mouth to be the second-most used source of local news after local television news.

Much has been made of how Millenials are leading a trend away from traditional news consumption. That may be true. But don’t count out some of their older, more bogged-down peers here. We parents are probably opting out of following news just as much, if not more.

Who among us has not lived through periods, sometimes weeks or months long, when we haven’t a clue what’s happening outside our own kid-centric bubbles? I, a news junkie who has worked pretty consistently in the news business throughout my child-rearing so far, frequently ask my husband when he arrives home from work to provide a daily briefing. Though these tend to be spotty, and are sometimes sourced by The Onion, they have often been my only link to general news.

My husband tends to be more up on news, even fake news, because he goes to an office daily. I am not taking us all down the work vs. home debate here. I am instead pointing out what Pew researchers may have overlooked. For parents of younger children, being home, with or without outside employment, frequently does not provide the intellectual space conducive to news consumption. Since I’m generalizing here, I’d include in this not-news-friendly zone many “flex-time” jobs that are often anything but flexible for their inhabitants.

Yes, yes, we parents are told we’re too kid-centric these days. Maybe we are. Still, there will be times when the most disciplined of us will not have a minute to read or listen to a commentary on the consequences of the Arab Spring, or a coming hurricane, when caring for a newborn or enduring a kid’s behavioral rough patch, for instance.

If Pew measured parents of young children alone, I’d guess that word of mouth might be the top news source. (This would, of course, depend on how researchers counted news gleaned from a muted television ticker glanced while racing through a Target.)

I’ve heard by (word of mouth) that medical school students endure such intense academic demands that they too experience a long stretch of news blackout. The difference, for course, is that they get a medical degree for their efforts. We parents, if we’re lucky, get teenagers.

Do you have time to keep up with the news? How do you get it?

By  |  12:35 PM ET, 09/26/2011

Tags:  media, how parents get news

 
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