Wealthier Americans pay for their news more often than those in other income levels: report

Wealthier Americans are much more likely to pay for their news, according to a survey released Thursday from Harvard University’s Nieman Journalism Lab. 

The survey found that 47 percent of individuals who make $150,000 or more annually have donated money to a news outlet, paid for access to news or bought an issue of a news magazine. Just more than a quarter of those who make $50,000 to $100,000 annually and those who make $100,000 to $150,000 annually said the same. 

Only 20 percent of people making $30,000 to $50,000 and 14 percent of those making less than $30,000 have said they donated or paid for news. 

Researchers found that Americans across all demographics — 52 percent — believe that advertising should be the largest source of funding for journalism. Less than 10 percent said most funding should come from individuals’ direct payments or government funding, and 4 percent said it should come from donations. 

But almost a quarter of respondents said news organizations should be funded by all these categories evenly. 

A majority of respondents said they did not think it is reasonable for news organizations to charge people for all content, access to news first or newsletters. A plurality (47 percent) said outlets should not charge for in-person or online events or exclusive content. 

But the poll did find that millennials and members of Generation Z are much more likely than older Americans to believe it is reasonable for news outlets to charge for in-person or online events and exclusive content. 

Of those who have paid for news, 86 percent said they have paid through a subscription. Almost 40 percent said they have donated to news outlets or paid through memberships, while 10 percent said they have made micropayments to news outlets and 5 percent said they have paid for a day pass. 

Only 1 percent of respondents said they would pay to be able to continue reading a story or watch a video they started. Almost half said they would try to find the article for free from another news outlet, and a quarter said they would move on to another story.

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