News to Go

August 12, 2006

News to Go

The Pew Research Center just released new research on July 30, 2006, “Maturing Internet News Audience — Broader than Deep.” There was alot of fascinating information about Americans’ news habits, not all encouraging. In 1993, 58% reported reading a newspaper vs. 40% today. Broadcast is the preferred source for news. Print far outnumbers online news reading with only 6% of Americans reading a newspaper online. The researchers state that the Internet serves mostly as a supplement than a primary source of news. The web allows users to quickly grab the latest news in bits and bytes. For many, getting their news online is a matter of convenience rather than a source for digging into the details.

Another interesting insight is that people are spending more time reading business and financial news in newspapers — up from 44% in 1985 to 60% in 2006. Perhaps not so surprising considering that many Americans have their nest eggs tied up in the stock market. Men outnumber women as regular readers of business magazines (71% to 29%, respectively). Why am I surprised?

As a blogger, it is sobering to learn that only 4% of Americans regularly read news-related online blogs although the percentage increases to 9% among those 18 to 24. The younger set is turning into a headline society. Apparently younger people “bump” into the news as they are searching for something else. A pure accidental play.

The reputation of print newspapers has taken a beating over the past couple of years with the Jayson Blair episode, Judith Miller fiasco, USA Today scandal, etc…to name just a few credibility-busters. Although the print newspaper with the most credibility is the Wall Street Journal, only 26% believe all or most of what is printed in it today compared to 41% in 1998. The New York Times is considered almost as believable as the Wall Street Journal (20% vs. 26%) although the venerable paper has a sizeable number of critics. Eighteen percent of Americans report that they believe almost nothing they read in the New York Times today. Pretty ghastly news.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of corporate and CEO reputations.

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