Is reading print healthier than reading online?

One American author and journalist certainly thinks so. 

Susan Jacoby, writing in the Spectator, argues that the “triumph of video over print is eroding the quality of American public life” and that young people should read books and newspapers instead of spending time gazing at flashing on-screen images.

She cites a study by the US journal Television Quarterly, which found that one in 12 adults under 20 reads a daily newspaper and TV news is watched by one in six.

But she says the study “explodes the myth that the young have simply shifted their news-gathering to the web”. Only one in eight Americans under 30 regularly read news online while half of men aged 18 to 34 spend nearly three hours playing computer games.

One version of this “myth” was presented in Gothenberg at the World Editor’s Forum in June where Associated Press VP Jim Kennedy unveiled a detailed study on how young people want to control the way they consume news media (read the whole thing here).

He argued that young people were interested but had rejected the traditional forms of delivery, something that seems to be confirmed by the popularity of the free newspapers Metro, London Lite and thelondonpaper.

And for readers who don’t feel they can handle the double-page spread of Jacoby’s piece in the Spectator, here’s the online version.

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