Following the news becomes a sport: Welcome to the ‘personal news cycle’

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Americans like their news the way they like their coffee: fixed just so, at a certain temperature and strength, and at certain times. And they like the news. No, really. The nation has not been overwhelmed by too much news and has fearlessly embraced multiple delivery systems to obtain that information, says extensive new research by a consortium of press experts.

Sixty percent of us, in fact, say it’s now easier to keep up with the news than it was five years ago. And an amazing 90 percent actually revealed they “enjoy” keeping up with the news, and use at least four or five sources to find it.

Welcome now to “the personal news cycle,” a new term introduced Monday by the Media Insight Project, an initiative of the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Following the news is no longer a passive activity. It requires some skill and sportsmanship, and according to these researchers, the game is on.

Of interest to geezers: The divide between young and old news consumers appears to be gone. Tech savvy folk of all ages have “toppled stereotypes” and created their own hybrid news, in tune with personal tastes and proclivities.

“The majority of Americans across generations now combine a mix of sources and technologies to get their news each week,” the poll says.

Among the numbers: 90 percent of Americans heed the news during the week, 75 percent of Americans follow the news daily, including 60 percent of the under-30 set. Another 60 percent overall say they get their news from all kinds of sources: print, online, broadcast. smart devices. And reassuring findings for all the traditional press entities: 60 percent of the respondents also prefer their news to come directly from, yes, “a news organization.”

The most universally popular topics of all? Traffic and weather.

“The findings suggest that conventional wisdom that media consumption is shaped by age or ideology is overstated and that some long-held beliefs about people relying on a few primary sources for their news are now obsolete,” says Tom Rosensteil, executive director of the American Press Institute.

Is there a political divide in all this? Not really.

“Patterns of news consumption also vary little by political affiliation. Partisans act more like each other in terms of attentiveness to the news relative to independents. But, partisans do differ from each other when it comes to the types of news reporting sources they say they trust. Democrats are more trusting of news from the three broadcast networks and the newswires, while Republicans are more trusting of news from cable,” the research states.

Find this new survey and related research here

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