One in four adults read no books at all during 2006

Published 10:38 pm Monday, August 27, 2007

By Staff
One in four adults read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Aug. 21.
Of those who did read, women and older people were most avid.
Religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.
The typical person claimed to have read four books in the last year – half read more and half read fewer.
Excluding those who hadn't read any, the usual number read was seven.
I read eight books in 2006 and just finished my seventh in 2007, including the final Harry Potter.
Who are the 27 percent of people the AP-Ipsos poll found hadn't read a single book this year?
Almost a third of men and a quarter of women fit that category.
They tend to be older, less educated, lower income, minorities, from rural areas and less religious.
Among those who said they had read books, the median figure – with half reading more, half fewer – was nine books for women and five for men.
The figures also indicated that those with college degrees read the most, and people aged 50 and up read more than those who are younger.
What do Toledo, Ohio, and Burlington, Vt., have in common? They were the first American cities to offer cable access to Al Jazeera English, the Qatar-based news channel.
Toledo at least has a sizable Arab-speaking population.
Left-leaning Vermont, first on Dec. 6, 2006, has at least 40 communities which passed resolutions demanding President Bush's impeachment.
Its state Senate also approved a resolution asking Congress to take up impeachment hearings against the president and Vice President Dick Cheney – the only state legislative body to have done so.
The news channel attracts large audiences in Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe and Israel.
According to an official with the privately-financed local cable company which carries Al Jazeera, "I was just stunned at the quality of the coverage. It was fantastic. There were some amazing, eye-opening news stories about world affairs, women's issues and stories about what we call the 'Third World.' Ultimately, it is about giving consumers a diverse choice in news and letting them decide what they want to watch."
A viewer who is a software developer in Burlington said, "The stereotype of Al Jazeera that they are a pipeline for Middle East terrorists to get their message out is wrong."
Recommended reading: "Justice Delayed," American Journalism Review's August/September 12-page autopsy on "the media's Duke lacrosse debacle."
It's written by AJR Managing Editor, who's leaving to become an assignment editor on the USA Today national desk.
District Attorney Michael B. Nifong, whose case imploded, was held accountable. "The media incurred no such penalties," she writes. "No loss of license, no disciplinary panels, no prolonged public humiliation for the reporters, columnists, cable TV pundits, editorial writers and editors who trumpeted the 'Duke lacrosse rape case' and even the 'gang-rape case' in front-page headlines, on the nightly news and on strident cable shoutfests," like CNN's Nancy Grace, who "particularly distinguished herself, in a negative sense, with her mean-spirited comments about the athletes."
Grace declined AJR's interview requests.
News and Observer columnist Ruth Sheehan, who wrote 14 pieces on the case apologized April 23: "Members of the men's Duke lacrosse team, I am sorry."
Star Tribulations: Also noteworthy is a six-page article on upheaval at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, reeling from an ownership change (the Cowles family sold its media company in 1998 for $1.2 billion to McClatchy, which the day after Christmas ended its eight-year reign by selling to Avista Capital Partners, a New York investment company in the newspaper business for the first time), two rounds of staff reductions (145, 50 from the newsroom in May) and a newsroom reorganization that emphasizes suburban coverage and online operations.
On June 15 Avista sold the Star-Tribune's parking lots to the Vikings for $45 million.
Yet another story chronicled the national trend of newspapers jettisoning staff film critics, with quotes like, "We're doing the best we can to focus our resources on creating the content that people expect to get from us and not from another source." Content is not a word news people use.
Whatever happened to Rick Bragg? The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, who visited Dowagiac in October 2002, is a professor of writing at the University of Alabama. He wrote Sports Illustrated's Aug. 27 cover story, "Raising Alabama," about Coach Nick Saban, formerly of Michigan State, taking Tuscaloosa by storm.
I remember Don Gullett as the left-handed pitching ace of the Rose-Bench-Morgan Cincinnati "Big Red Machine."
Thanks to George Steinbrenner, Gullett has another baseball distinction as one of the New York Yankees' early free-agent splashes.
Gullett was on the roster of four straight World Series champions – the 1975 and '76 Reds and '77 and '78 Yankees.
But I had never heard of his gridiron record, which has stood the test of time.
In his native Kentucky, as I read in the Aug. 26 Lexington Herald-Leader, on the night of Nov. 8, 1968, Gullett was carrying the football as the star halfback for McKell High School in its regular-season finale at county rival Wurtland High.
Gullett scored a one-yard touchdown run. By the time the game ended, Gullett achieved something no player had ever done before in the recorded history of Kentucky high school football.
He'd scored 11 TDs (also on runs of 17, 10, 43, two, 65, 80, 36, eight, 70 and 10 yards).
In fact, in a game McKell won 72-7, Gullett accounted for all 72 points because he also kicked six PATs himself.
Both records stand to this day.