sexta-feira, 10 de agosto de 2007

Do desinteresse pelas notícias à perda de envolvimento político vai um passo que está a ser dado pela opinião pública americana?

Thomas Patterson, em entrevista ao Kennedy School Insight acha que sim:

Q: : We know that the Internet is changing the way in which many people use news and information. How are teens and young adults in America getting their daily news — is it mainly through the internet?

Patterson: No, it’s mainly through conventional sources like television news — particularly, also radio news. I think the big difference between younger Americans and older Americans in news use is that for a lot of older Americans news is a daily appointment. You wake up in the morning, you go to the door, you pickup your newspaper, you read your newspaper while you have a cup of coffee, at six-thirty in the evening you turn on the evening newscast. That’s been the pattern for older Americans for fifty years, news as an appointment.

For young Americans, most of them do not make any appointment with the daily news, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t have some exposure to it. They are so media connected that it’s really difficult for them or anyone else in this society to not have some news exposure, but they essentially don’t put part of their day aside to partake of the news.

They make a lot of use of the internet, more use of the internet than do older adults, but because they don’t have this driving news interest they actually do not get more news off the internet than do older adults. They pick a little bit of news up here and there, primarily from conventional news sources, but most of them don’t have anything like a regular habit. We found that about 60 percent of teens and about 50 percent of young adults essentially have no regular news medium that they rely on for their news.

Q: What are other significant findings of your recent “Young People and News” report?

Patterson: When you try to look ahead and think about what this might mean for the democracy and people’s involvement in politics, interest in news has always been the way that Americans have renewed their political interest, to maintain it. When you have something like the Iraq conflict going on, people are keenly interested and they have varying opinions on the Iraq conflict — but nearly all Americans are deeply interested in it.

But day to day, year after year, whether there’s a large issue out there or not, the news is the daily renewal of an interest in politics and public affairs. When you start to pull back from that, when you don’t renew that interest on a daily basis, then it’s pretty easy to slip into a pattern where it’s not that you don’t care about the public side of life, but you’re not regularly involved in it. You’re less connected to it; you’re less informed about it. For example, young adults 40 years ago had nearly the same levels of public information as did older adults. Today there’s a huge gap in terms of knowledge about public affairs, and that goes hand in hand with the level of attention to daily news.