Media Usage Study: Online & Radio Up; TV Still Most Credible


Americans are increasingly turning to online and radio sources for news and information, and are spending less time with daily newspapers and TV, according to (pdf) a media use and credibility survey commissioned by ARAnet and conducted by Opinion Research Corporation.  

Daily newspaper usage dropped 4.1% and TV usage dropped 3.6%, while radio usage increased 2.9% and online usage increased 1.9%, the study found.

Credibility ratings for nearly all types of media except TV rose slightly from a year ago. TV is, however, still deemed to be most credible.

The national study of US adults, now in its second year, measured the percentage of news and information Americans receive from various media sources each month. Consumers reported getting 31% of their news and information from TV, and 19.4% from both radio and daily newspapers.

The media-use rankings from the survey, compared with last year’s results:


  • Television: 31.1% (down from 34.7% a year ago)
  • Daily newspaper: 19.4% (down from 23.5%)
  • Radio: 19.4% (up from 16.5%)
  • Online: 14.6% (up from 12.7%)
  • Weekly community papers: 4.4% (down from 5.1 %)
  • Free shopper newspapers: 2.9% (up from 2.2%)
  • Magazines: 2.1% (up from 1.6%)

Educated, Affluent & Hispanic Demos Flock Online

The survey also measured media use among specific demographic groups and, according to ARAnet, revealed a trend toward  increased use of online sources for news and information among the college educated, Hispanics and those making more than $100K per year, compared with the general population.

Not surprisingly, the research also found that the younger the respondent, the more reliant that person was on online sources.

Key demographic differences:

  • Respondents with household incomes of $100K or more receive considerably more news and information from online sources (23.1% vs. 14.6% for the general population).
  • College grads report using online sources more frequently (20.0%).
  • Adults ages 18-34 report the highest reliance on online sources (22.2%).
  • Hispanics are more likely to prefer online sources (21.0%).

“The data showing an increase in online use and drop in daily newspaper consumption echoes what we’re hearing from consumers and media partners,” said Scott Severson, president of ARAnet. “Consumers want more of their information online.”

TV Drops Slightly, Still Most Credible

The was designed to gauge which media sources Americans view as the most credible sources of news and information. With the exception of TV, which dropped a tenth of a rating point, all media types stayed steady or increased slightly in credibility from a year ago.

The survey asked respondents to assign credibility scores to seven types of media, ranging from one for “not at all credible” to 10 for “extremely credible. Credibility scores:


  • Television: 6.5 on a scale of one-to-10 (down .1 from a year ago)
  • Daily newspaper: 6.3 (same as last year)
  • Radio: 6.3 (up .3 from a year ago)
  • Online: 5.7 (up .1)
  • Weekly community papers: 5.4 (up .2)
  • Magazines: 4.9 (up .3)
  • Free shopper newspapers: 4.3 (up .8)

Other survey findings:

  • College grads are more likely to trust online news (giving online a 6.3 rating vs. the 5.7 rating by the general population), and are less likely to trust TV news (giving TV a 6.1 rating vs. the 6.5 rating by the general population).
  • Respondents with annual household incomes of $100K and above trust online sources considerably more than the general population (giving online a 6.5 rating, compared with the 5.7 rating by the general population).
  • Higher-income respondents also view daily newspapers as more credible (6.8 vs. the 6.3 overall rating).

About the survey:  The survey was conducted with 1,000 US adults, ages 18+. It was conducted by phone September 10-13, 2009.

How news sites can cover an election night – examples from Norway

Need some inspiration to take your multi-platform coverage to new heights during the next election cycle? How will you cover more with fewer people? Start planning now.

John Einar Sandvand has a fascinating overview, and some great links, from the recent Norway national elections on his site BetaTales.

John writes:

  • Several of the sites had prepared interactive graphics which where automatically updated as the results came in
  • Services like Coveritlive and Twitter were used to report live from the different party headquarters
  • News sites increasingly provide a platform for users to discuss the election resuts with each other. This was done by integrating Twitter hashtags into the news content as well as through use of Facebook Connect.
  • You will also be amazed at Norwegian newspapers in general. Much grittier and in-your face that American papers.

    The PC is Becoming the New TV

    The LA TIMES’ David Colker reports if you’re watching more TV on your computer these days — and less on an actual TV — you’re not

    The Times points to a survey by the nonprofit Conference Board released Tuesday which showed that nearly a quarter of households in the U.S. now view television programs online. That’s up from 20% last year.

    The quarterly Consumer Internet Barometer survey found that news shows were watched by 43% of online viewers, followed by sitcoms, comedies and dramas, watched by 35%. Slightly less than 20% viewed reality shows online, and 18% took in sports.

    Viewership of the Hulu online service — which offers shows from NBC, ABC, Fox and others — nearly quadrupled from last year, but that’s not a big surprise because Hulu didn’t debut until March 2007.

    The survey found that 90% of online viewers watch at home. The remaining 10% watch at the office.

    Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times

    Getting Your Stories to Show Up on Google News – OTNB Idea

    outside the boxSearch Engine Optimization. Everyone who posts content to your news site or channel must understand that:

    CONTENT is King,

    but KEYWORDS are the keys to the kingdom.

    This video from Google lays out the schematic for Google News.
    Among the “need-to-knows”:

  • Google News ranks stories from “trusted sources” higher. (determined by clickthrough rates of the source).
  • “Local” matters. Sources nearby are ranked higher than others who pick up a story from another region.
  • Attribution from trusted sources helps: (“the New York Times reported”).
  • Page Rank is less important for news articles.Google understands fresh content will have fewer views.
  • Include transcripts and descriptions with video. Google still is looking for relevant keywords.
  • Press Releases are ranked lower in Google News than news stories. (Question: Does using the phrase “news release” in a story lower its page ranking.
  • Google News provides SEO tips for publishers
    Google News provides SEO tips for publishers

    If you need a review of your web channel, or newsroom staff training, contact me. GRIFF

    Five Social Media Sites for Journos

    Here are some websites from SPJ’s Techno-J blog – that are worth checking out:

    1. Wired Journalists
    Social network with over 3,300 members and counting.

    2. Muck Rack
    Journalists on Twitter, listed by beat and media outlet. Add yourself to the list!

    3. Visual Editors
    Social network for graphically-inclined journos (designers, photographers, videographers, et al.)

    4. Testy Copy Editors
    Message board for folks on the copy desk.

    5. Sree’s Twitter Guide for Skeptics and Newbies
    Extensive list of Twitter tools and resources for journos, compiled by Columbia J-School tech superstar Sree Sreenivasan. You can listen to his “Twitter for Journalists” podcast here:

    Until next time…

    I’m Emily Sweeney, staff reporter at The Boston Globe. You can follow me (@emilysweeney) on Twitter at