“The Age of Media Agnosticism”

In an essay titled The Age of Media Agnosticism, Steve Rubel cites a study by the Poynter Institute that identifies seven classes of news consumers and the beginning of a “new era of media agnosticism.” First, the 7 types:

  • Traditional: those who devote a set amount of time to their news habit every day;
  • Passive: multi-taskers who don’t devote time to news but have an “ambient awareness” and tune in as their interest is piqued;
  • Pursuit: people who seek out a specific piece of information, such as the full version of a story they heard about;
  • Social: under 30-types who rely on the news to “find them” via social networks;
  • Partisan: individuals who turn to select news providers based on their own outlooks (e.g. DailyKos or FOX News);
  • Continuous: “information addicts” who are always plugged in; and
  • Post-traditional: news consumers who get it all online and have “loose loyalties” for certain sites.

I’ll put myself in one or both of the last two types. And for those of us in or near the news “business,” Mr. Rubel’s final takeaway:

“Faced with infinite choices, powerful search tools and equally helpful friends, we’re adapting our habits and becoming less loyal to general sources than we once were. Many rely on the news to find us rather than our needing to seek it out. Those who do hunt for news are likely to do so via a single outlet of their choosing and/or a search engine, or even YouTube.”

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