More than Half of Americans Heard about Colorado Shooting Someplace Other than TV News
Fifty-six percent of Americans said they first heard about the tragic theater shootings in Colorado from a source other than television news, according to a national study by media consulting firm CJ&N. The study examined how Americans used media to seek out information in the hours after the shootings in Aurora, Colorado.
Television still led the pack of information sources Americans first sought out in the hours after the story broke on the morning of July 20. Forty-four percent of Americans surveyed said they heard about the shootings on television. But from there, information sources were fragmented and vary widely by age group. Those other sources included internet websites (14%) and radio (13%). Some of the "new" digital channels many think would be prominent as the first to inform were not. Facebook, text alerts, email, and Twitter were all named by 5% or less of the total sample.
"It offers fascinating insight into how news consumers are getting their information in a changed media environment," said Mary Beth Marks, Ph.D., vice president of research for CJ&N. “There is a digital divide between generations.”
Older adults were much more likely to have heard about the Colorado shootings first on TV, while only 21% of adults 18 – 24 years old did so. The 18-24 group was nearly as likely to first hear about the shootings by word-of-mouth (18%) and Facebook (18%) as by television (21%).
Once the news was out, those who sought more information often went to national news websites. The sites were the first choice for Americans except among the oldest age groups (55+). Notably, though, 18-24-year-olds' second-choice source for following the story was Facebook.
"The findings point to a dramatic shift in how people get news and information, especially younger adults," said Marks. "It shows how news content providers across the country must work to serve changing consumer habits, particularly when it comes to younger information consumers.”
CJ&N conducted a live-interview telephone survey of 500 U.S. adults, ages 18+, on July 21 and 22. The sample was reflective of demographics according to Census data, and balanced between geographic regions of the country.