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Breaking: Chicago Young Adults Actually ReadSkim

By Aaron Bailey in News on Apr 15, 2005 5:43PM

redeye.jpgAccording to an article in Editor & Publisher, John K. Hartman, professor of journalism at some far off university (Central Michigan), claims a study he conducted found that Chicago's young adults are actually reading the RedEye and Red Streak.

Nearly half of the 112 students surveyed (all who happened to be journalism or communication majors) rated the papers as having "high" or "medium" value as their news source. The study also found that nearly two-thirds of respondents also found value in using the newsprint as a source of fiber in their diets.1

The article also states that "the Tribune says it distributes 80,000 copies of RedEye every weekday. Of those, about 14,000 to 15,000 are paid for." Simple math shows that 15,000 paid copies multiplied by 25 cents each equals a whopping $3,750 -- probably just enough to cover the expense of hiring people to pass out free copies. Surely the RedEye isn't adding value to the Tribune's bottom line.

Chicagoist is quite skeptical about the accurateness of a survey of 112 college journalism students. In a city like Chicago where many rely on public transportation, 80,000 "readers" seems rather pathetic, especially considering many of those 80,000 copies are only quickly skimmed and discarded.

We're still holding out hope that these big media companies will someday "get it" and truly change the way news is presented, but we're not holding out hope. In the meantime, we'll stick to getting our news from Jon Stewart and well, Chicagoist.

Related: A report due out in May will show massive circulation losses in many of the Tribune's properties across the country, most notably at the L.A. Times. Can you smell the dying newsprint?

1 A statistic fabricated from thin air by Chicagoist, but one we're guessing is accurate.