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Opening Arguments

This just in

This "Key Indicators in Media & News Report" from the folks at Pew shows how news consumption changed in 2013 and has lots of tidbits about which we can endlessly speculate. Cable news audience -- declined; are we getting tired of the partisan shouting? Local TV news -- new signs of life, and network news viewership increased, too; are we trying to find our commonality again? Newspaper readership -- up 3 percent daily and 1.6 percent Sunday; woo-hoo!

This is especially interesting:

The vast majority of Americans now get news in some digital format. In 2013, 82% of Americans said they got news on a desktop or laptop and 54% said they got news on a mobile device. Beyond that, 35% reported that they get news in this way “frequently” on their desktop or laptop, and 21% on a mobile device (cellphone or tablet).

I think "news app" has become the modern equivalent of radio, the place we turned to for immediate news bulletins without all the in-depth details. The difference is that back in the day we'd go somewhere else -- like a newspaper or even a magazine -- for the details after hearing the headlines on the radio. A lot of people today are satisfied with the short and shallow version and quickly move on to other things without bothering to learn the whole story. So people know less and less about more and more.