KSJ Tracker November 8, 2012

Republican party demographics--Does something sound familiar here?

Ken Doctor

For two solid days, cable TV news has been jabbering about the Republican Party's gloomy demographics--its voters are white, older, and male--and populations trends are against it.

In an article at the Nieman Journalism LabKen Doctor, the newspaper industry analyst and author of the Newsonomics blog and book, writes that 88% of Mitt Romney's votes came from white voters, "yet the white vote declined to 72 percent of the total vote, down two points in four years and 11 points in 20 years."

But Doctor's article is not about the election; it's about the newspaper business. After reviewing the election demographics, he stops when he comes across a Politico headline saying, "GOP soul-searching: Too old, too white, too male?" And then it hits him:

Around noon Wednesday, I started hearing a voice inside my election-addled head: Where else had I seen numbers like these? Where had I heard that Politico description? Who else was getting a really good market share of a smaller and smaller slice of the population?

"Ah, yes," he writes. "The newspaper industry."

He continues: "The print audience — the audience that still responsible for 80 percent or more of almost all newspaper companies’ revenue — strongly parallels the Romney vote in almost every category: age, ethnicity, and gender. Older, White, and male."

Doctor analyzes the stats in some detail, and thinks a bit about what newspapers and journalists should do to respond to that. 

-Paul Raeburn


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