News knowledge

Pew has another report out suggesting that Daily Show viewers are the most knowledgeable about current affairs. Viewers of the show tend (54%) to be in the “high knowledge” group, whereas only 35% of the general public are. I’m a little surprised at how low the numbers are across the board. I took the quiz and found the questions to be pretty basic, despite not being much of a news junkie. Most of my news these days is from (a) NPR during my commute, (b) the Daily Show, when I can catch it, or (c) random news items on Digg.

In one of my classes a few weeks back we talked about the role of Daily Show, and whether it is humorous to those who are not aware of the day’s news. I contend that it is–that most viewers are not just going there to be amused, but to be informed. Others in the class argued that the humor was predicated on already having a good idea of the days stories. I thought about doing a self-experiment and avoiding the news altogether, except for the Daily Show, but that is far easier said than done. I managed to mostly remain unaware while in Barcelona a few weeks ago, but in my daily routine, I run into too many latent sources of news.

Nonetheless, I think it would be an interesting study. What are the uses and gratifications of the Daily Show to those who watch with high news context, as opposed to those who watch with low news context?

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