You’re listening to the radio right now, but does big news like the threat of war also make you pick up a paper more often? Ann Selzer is a research expert who used to run the Iowa Poll for the Des Moines Register.Selzer thinks people in times like this, with the threat of war, turn to all media. As far as charges that papers only print things “to sell papers,” Selzer says that’s why we have news media, after all. She says one drives the other, as newspapers are there to serve readers, and in times when people feel they don’t know enough, the papers DO become more valuable to them and the papers print more on hop topics, as readers respond by picking them up. Even the Internet, with all its sources of information, hasn’t replaced newspapers, the pollster says.She says some things only newspapers can do well, like their depth of coverage and the editorials to give people the news and views. Selzer doesn’t think the popularity of computers at home and work will do away with newsprint, either. While it might be engaging to use Internet links to take you places, she says we take information in best from a printed page. Selzer also doesn’t think any single source will take over as our news supplier. She says American public opinion’s so diverse, there will always be a demand for different points of view and different ways of getting news. In addition to her experience conducting public-opinion polls, Selzer does surveys of readership to help newspapers identify who their audience is.
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