Here is an interesting article at Broadcasting & Cable. What is interesting specifically is what NBC Universal President Bob Wright had to say about cable news:
Despite all the media attention given to cable-news programming—from Bill O’Reilly’s histrionics on Fox to Anderson Cooper’s exhibitionistic empathy at CNN—American viewers are not all that interested. Wright pointed out that the cable-news networks combined draw fewer unique viewers all night long than a single half-hour of NBC Nightly News.
“You’d think it would be 25 million people. It’s smaller than that, it’s 5 million-6 million,” Wright said. “It’s not a very large group.”
Two valid inferences, it seems to me, can be drawn from this. One, news junkies form a distinct minority of the population, period. And a significant majority of that minority prefers Fox.
Perhaps newspapers could reverse their declining numbers by finding out what most people are interested in -- books, for example -- and writing about that, rather than assuming that the world of readers is made up of policy wonks (and liberal policy wonks at that).