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Web Surpasses Newspapers



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More people go online than read newspapers, according to a new government survey:

WASHINGTON — Americans spend more time watching TV, listening to the radio, surfing the Internet and reading newspapers, it seems, than anything else except breathing.

In fact, media use has risen every year since the start of the decade, helped by faster and easier ways to get information and entertainment, according to statistics in a new government report. [...]

Americans spend an average of 4 1/2 hours a day watching TV, far more time than they spend on any other medium. Next come the radio and the Internet. Reading newspapers is fourth, passed this year by Internet use.

This news coincides with a report that billionaire record mogul David Geffen’s offer to buy the L.A. Times is a billion short, deepening the woes of the troubled Tribune Co. Geffen recently told the Wall Street Journal, “I’m not interested in buying things simply to make money. I’m interested in doing something that’s going to be valuable for the community, where I can make a difference… I would devote my resources to building a first-class national newspaper.”

If Geffen and the Tribune Co. can eventually work out a deal, and if he is serious about his vision for the LAT, he could do worse than to take Michael Kinsley’s advice:

Los Angeles is the capital of the increasingly dominant infotainment-media-celebrity complex. Broaden your scope to California generally and you can throw in high technology as well. The L.A. Times should be the diary of this capital. Often it is. But it has to display its savvy as well as rely on it. In 2006, that means having a website second-to-none, technologically and in terms of content. Having a website that is second to almost everybody suggests that you do not have your finger on the pulse.

It’s true – especially because that gap between web users and newspaper readers is just going to keep getting wider.



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