Newspapers will wither and perhaps die unless they convert into online platforms, according to a survey of next generation journalists.
Alan Knight, professor of journalism at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), said more than 200 first-year journalism students took part in his international online survey of their news reading habits.
"More than 90 per cent of the respondents were aged under 21 and many of these want-to-be journalists don't read newspapers," Knight said.
"More than 60 per cent read a printed newspaper once a week or less. Yet 95 per cent said they enjoyed keeping up with news.
"Their preferred source of news was broadcast on television, particularly commercial television, with at least half watching television news at least once a day."
Knight said online news was their next preferred source with students nominating Google and Ninemsn followed by other mainstream journalism sites. Facebook, specialist websites and Wikipedia were also popular.
"The results confirmed educators' suspicions - even journalism students are not reading newspapers," Knight said, according to a QUT statement.
"This poses a greater threat to the printed press than the global economic crisis or the loss of advertising revenue to the web. If the journalists of the future don't want to read newspapers, who will?"
Knight said the next stage of the study would involve focus groups of students discussing how news could be made more interesting and attractive to netizens.