Author reading a newspaper in a restaurant. Unusual? Or alarming?
It was a rare moment of reality! It was at a juncture of disruptive technology, hunger, old media and a smart mouth preteen. The time was 12:04 on a recent Friday when I was confronted with change.
The hunger drove me to Culver’s Restaurant in Murray. Ordering my favorite Swiss cheese Mushroom burger, with salad, I settled in the far corner of the building, facing the view of Wal-Mart. With me, I carried a new copy of the London base Financial Times newspaper.
I was enjoying the moment, hamburger and excellent newspaper.
“Mommy, what is the old man doing?” Sounds coming from the next table, where Mr. and Mrs. America, with their daughter and son, had sneaked into my extended personal space, paused me in my devotion to global truth.
With great subtlety, I very carefully lower the newspaper to confront this new danger to my zone of peacefulness. Looking over the top, I caught the next question in full view of who had asked it. “Mommy, why is that man holding such a large napkin? Is he messy? Is he dangerous?”
Mother answered, “No, he looks safe enough. He is just reading what, in the last century, was called a newspaper. But, don’t make any direct eye contact, just to be on the safe side.”
Looking just over the top inch of the Financial Times, I was presented with the images of Dad, checking his e-mails; Mom, talking about the latest from her Facebook links; sister, holding court over and texting most recent high school drama; while big mouth pre teen future delinquent played a video game. From the sounds of action, the game involved the futuristic killing of a civilization, where he would become king over a wasteland. Everyone had some form of electronic smart device in one hand as they push food into their mouths with their other hand.
The young future wasteland Overlord made direct eye contact. I slowly ran my hand over the front page inch high headlines atop the fold of the newspaper. Pointing to the headline, “Germany pledges to keep UK in Europe,” in mock silence, I read the words of the headline to the preteen video warrior.
“Mommy, Mommy, the old man made me put new words into my mouth from the newspaper!”
Quickly recovering from her Face Book experience, mommy grabbed her screaming son and said, ”We don’t know where those words have been. Here, drank down your diet Pepsi (32 oz. size) and wash out your mouth. Come family, this is no place for our kind”
As they left, I wish that I had my trusted media card to drop on the restaurant table. I almost could tell that the rapidly departing high tech family, were not registered voters. But, sometimes I feel it is my role in life to explain to those who are newspaper challenged, just how important the print media is to our elections and the process of voting in what we call the American Experiment.
Below, for you, kind reader is core information of our political relationship with the media world. Enjoy!
Media & voters
If you’re looking to connect with voters...
(1) 84% of Democratic, 83% of Republican and 81% of Independent voters regularly read newspapers in print or online.
(2) Impressive online response! 51% of voters rate newspaper websites as reliable, accurate and in-depth for local political/civic issues. That’s more than all other websites.
(3) Now, as mobile usage emerges, 58% of voters who use mobile devices for political information use newspaper sources for that news.
(4) Seniority counts! The most reliable voting bloc, seniors, are frequent and regular newspaper readers - a whopping 84%.
(5) Surprise! 79% of young voters, 18-34, read a newspaper in print or online at least once a week. Even on mobile devices, young voters turn to newspaper sources first for campaign and election news.
When it comes to reliable, accurate and in-depth information about local politics, newspapers - print and online - rank #1.
Source: Moore Information (January 2012), American Voter Media Use
... no other medium outperforms newspaper media.
Newspaper Association of America 4401 Wilson Blvd., Suite 900, Arlington, VA 22203 571.366.1000