Senator Schumer Says Young People Read Blogs Not Newsweek or Time

Posted on March 3, 2008

The Business and Media Institute reports that New York Senator Charles Schumer sees blogs as one of the reasons the Democratic Party has been able to reach young voters. In this year's primaries Democratic turnout has overwhelmed Republican turnout often by ratios of 2:1 or greater. Schumer says young people are reading blogs to find the news - not Newsweek or Time magazine.

"Politics has become more accessible to young people," Schumer said. "They didn't really get into TV news the way my generation did. You know, when I was younger, the national news was sort of the national living room. That is not even close to true. Everyone read Time magazine or Newsweek. Hardly anyone does anymore."

The second-term senator credited specifically bloggers and the Internet for early successes in the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. According to U.S. News and World Report, from January 3 (day of the Iowa caucuses) to February 5 (Super Tuesday), 19.1 million Americans cast a ballot in a Democratic primary (or caucused as a Democrat) versus just 13.1 million on the Republican side in all the nominating contests.

"Instead things are more fractured, but the bloggers and the Internet has sort of become the medium of choice," Schumer said. "And it's gotten young people involved and excited in politics."

Time and Newsweek are still considered valuable sources but young people are more likely to first read about news on a blog or social news website. They then go and read what their favorite blogs have to say about a particular story. They might also check respected publications like Time and Newsweek. Schumer also noted that Internet is playing a much bigger role in this year's elections than in 2004.
"But I think it's different this time," Schumer said. "I think the Internet is much deeper and more pervasive. Howard Dean used it - it was a brand new thing, 'What is this?' Now it's part of the working world. Hillary's raising a lot of money on the Internet too - not as much as Barack, but she still is. But to me, more the motivation of young people ultimately is, this world is a different world and we better get hold of it and I think that's a great motivation."
Schumer is right about the huge amounts of money Democratic candidates are raising online. Today's candidates have managed to use the Internet to get people involved in their campaigns - both in turning out the vote and in raising money. Hillary Clinton raised over $35 million in February and Barack Obama raised over $50 million. Those are unprecented numbers. Ron Paul too discovered how useful the Internet was when had money raising days where he would raise several million in a 24-hour period.