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Tue October 15, 2013
Ideas & Stuff: Does a person in poverty need something different from the news?
A person in poverty does not, of course, need something different from their news than a person who is not in poverty. Hypothetically, that is.
But today I'm taking part in a small gathering of journalists and community activists that is challenging that proposition. One of the papers we read to prep for the gathering, by Brian Southwell and others, says people who are lower income have almost equal access to televised news, but don't consume news from print or radio sources as close to as often as people with higher incomes.
And without casting any stones at the quality of televised news (which I won't), that's not even really the problem, as far as information is concerned.
The "information gap" that exists between people in poverty and those with more money is because news organizations, by in large are only aiming their newscasts at people in higher income brackets. Or, as Southwell puts it, "People with low incomes often are spectators of an information environment designed for others, rather than fully engaged with content designed with them in mind."
I'll post more after I learn more about what information needs media tends to not meet, and how we can do a better job.