Even across political party lines, most people can agree that the 2016 election was one thing: exhausting. And one media element worth noting that was related to the political cycle was the consumption of news – in 2016 it went up by 18%. Aggregated, the average weekly amount of minutes of news that was viewed, read or listened to? 73.5 BILLION minutes. That’s a lot of news!
The clear winner in the news fray was national cable news, which saw a sizable increase of nearly 9%.
You’d think with post-election fatigue, news consumption might have started to fall off in January, but instead, it is continuing its strength as a media outlet, with comparisons of January 2016 to January 2017 among adults 18+ showing National Broadcast TV News up by 6 minutes, Local TV News is up 12 minutes and National Cable TV News is up a whopping 20 minutes. News consumption increases with age, with Persons 50+ comprising the highest volume.
As media outlets compete for our eyeballs (and ad dollars), we have to ask, is the tail wagging the dog at this point? Gone are the days of reputable news sources you could count on both hands – enter the myriad of cable networks, national and local news stations, reporters doing multiple duties across multiple news sources. With so many sources for news, and the ever-increasing consumption of all sorts of media via all sorts of screens, it’s no wonder we’re all suffering from “digital amnesia.” We can always Google for more, we can always find a source that agrees with us (and then some!) and we can overwhelm ourselves with live, late-breaking news alerts of all sorts.
While it’s important to stay informed, consider just how much news you really need in a 24-hour cycle. Consider how many sources you want to vet, how many channels you want to surf – and then ask yourself if it’s enriching your life. Your brain might thank you!