Analyzing the Evidence Exercises

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The news media play an integral role in American politics. A free press engaging in investigative journalism and in-depth reporting contributes vitally to an informed electorate. Accountability for elected officials is difficult to imagine absent an active news media. For these reasons, many have expressed concern with the decline in readership, revenue, and staffing of traditional print newspapers. The figure below shows the trends in advertising revenues for newspapers and the Internet from 1950 to the present.

Newspaper and Internet Ad Revenues

1. Describe the pattern for newspaper advertising.
2.
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What is the trend for Internet advertising?
3. Based on what you’ve read in this chapter and what you see in the data presented in the preceding figure, would you say the movement in the two types of advertising is related? Why or why not?
We can look in greater detail at the potential relationship between various sources for news by examining consumption patterns. This figure from the Pew Research Center shows the amount of time spent with different types of news — online, print newspaper, radio, and TV — between 1994 and 2010.i
4. How much time did the average person spend getting the news in 2010?
5.
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How does this compare to 1994, the first year for which the data is presented?
6. How has Americans’ consumption of the various formats changed over time? Please be specific.
7. How would you sum up the average American’s consumption of the news today? What are the implications for the news media and its role in American politics?

i Pew Research Center, “Americans Spending More Time Following the News,” September 12, 2010, http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1725/where-people-get-news-print-online-readership-cable-news-viewers (accessed 2/22/12). 

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