By: Jason Williams
Stephen Colbert leads the pack as one of the most recognized news personalities among freshmen and sophomores in a recent survey at the University of Oregon.
“He knows what’s up even though he jokes about it,” said UO sophomore Ashley Ehmig.
The survey by a group of students from the School of Journalism and Communication asked questions about where freshmen and sophomores get their news.
The host of “The Colbert Report,” a nightly satirical comedy news show which airs on the cable network Comedy Central, was the most recognized member in a group of four popular television hosts when students were asked which of the talking heads they considered to be a “journalist.” The others included in the survey were Glenn Beck of Fox News, Ann Curry of NBC News, and Rachel Maddow of MSNBC.
Out of the group, Colbert was the only one recognized by more than half of the students surveyed. Most did not recognize who Maddow (90% unaware), Curry (80%) or Beck (70%) were. On the other hand Colbert was known by 70 percent of the students, 30 percent with the opinion that Colbert is a journalist and 40 percent considering him to be a satirist and the other 30 percent (all foreign exchange students) were unaware of who the host was.
Cable news was not popular among the 18-20-year-olds surveyed (only 40 percent even watched), the numbers for other sources of news gave a clear picture of where students just starting out in college get their news: the Internet. The World Wide Web was popular with the students. 80 percent claimed at least one source of news that they regularly checked. CNN, The Huffington Post, and Yahoo were a few of the most popular.Sophomore Grant Cunningham felt that his view on the news was a popular one among his peers, “I try to read it (the news) with skepticism in order to get all the facts.”
This generation of students spends hours online, with only one out of 10 students surveyed admitting to spending less than one hour a day online and one student who spends up to 12 hours a day immersing himself on the web.
This trend of looking at multiple sources seems to be leading the students right to the desk of Colbert each evening (or online the next day). He has become another source for news and another way for students to add to the information that they have available.