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Newspapers’ Decline Continues, While Pew Study Asks: Is TV News Next?

Average audiences for cable news broadcasts are getting older, and that spells trouble for CNN and others

Newspapers continue to suffer in the digital age, but a new study by the Pew Research Center finds that television news is also vulnerable to the technological revolution.

The percentage of Americans who regularly watch local television news has dropped from 54 percent in 2006 to 48 percent today, the study found. But what's particularly troublesome is that the people who are tuning in for news broadcasts are graying.

The number of 18-to-29 year-olds routinely turning on the local news has fallen from 42 percent in 2006 to 28 percent, and the situation on cable is not much better. The number of people aged 65 and older who regularly watch cable news shows is double that of people under the age of 30 (51 percent vs. 23 percent).

CNN has been hardest hit. While regular viewership for rivals Fox News and MSNBC has held steady, the number of Americans who watch CNN has fallen from 24 percent in 2008 to 16 percent today.

To survey news consumption habits, Pew polled 3,003 adults over nearly a month-long period. It is releasing its findings in a report entitled "The Explosion in Mobile Audiences and a Close Look at what it Means for News."

TV networks' problems pale compared to those of newspaper, Pew found.

Over the past 10 years, the number of Americans who regularly read a print newspaper has plummeted from 41 percent to 23 percent. That's a far more precipitous drop than the one in the number of people who read books or magazines in print.