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Who says young people don’t read newspapers? That’s fake news

Survey shows youths read newspapers or fiction, thus forming a major reader or client segment.

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Who was it who once said that, “He who is without a newspaper is cut off from his species”? Perhaps, this is true, but to say that young people do not read newspapers is, definitely, not true.

A survey initiated by the Singapore University of Social Sciences in collaboration with The Straits Times and responded to by over 1,000 19 year-olds revealed that approximately 48% read fiction books. Those who read books and newspapers are more likely to hold stronger opinions on domestic and international issues. The survey also showed that nearly one-third of respondents said they read e-newspapers while a fifth said they read print versions.

Temasek Polytechnic mass communications student and aspiring film-maker Kieran Desker tells The Straits Times that reads newspapers online every day.

“I hop through several news sites though the day reading stories on topics that interest me,” he said. “It is an easy way to keep yourself up-to-date with what’s happening around the world.”

Assistant Professor Saifuddin Ahmed from Nanyang Technological University’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information said that many younger adults are moving online to get their news, with empirical evidence in the last few years suggesting that using online platforms and social media for news consumption encourages expressive behaviour.

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“The new online information environment facilitates a diverse information atmosphere which can encourage civic and political discussions,” the professor said.

Warren Fernandez, editor of The Straits Times and editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings’ English/Malay/Tamil Media Group, said: “It’s often said, loosely, that young people don’t read the newspapers. Frankly, that’s a bit of fake news. Our own data shows that our audience on our website, app and social media is mostly under 30.”

Debunked theory: Teenagers don’t enjoy reading

In 2017, a survey which was conducted by Chin Ee Loh and supported by the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore and the National Institute of Education, debunked a common myth about Singapore’s young people’s reading habits. The theory posits that in this technologically-saturated age, teenagers don’t enjoy reading.

In the said survey, it indicated that Singapore teenagers enjoy reading, especially those at the lower secondary level. It further revealed that young people read for enjoyment, to relax or that it is their hobby and not because they want to gain better grades, to improve their language or just to finish homework. Among their preferred reading materials, the survey showed that they like popular culture and series reading more although classics and other kinds of texts are read as well.

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