Survey: Online News Credibility Increasing

    September 24, 2009
    Chris Crum

For the second year in a row, ARAnet has shared survey results about the news consumption habits of Americans. This year’s survey found that Americans are increasingly turning to online sources, as well as radio for their news, while going less to daily newspapers and television.

According to the survey, conducted by Opinion Research Corporation and sponsored by ARAnet, daily newspaper usage dropped 4.1 percent and television usage dropped 3.6 percent, while radio usage increased 2.9 percent and online usage increased 1.9 percent.

With regards to the percentage of news and information Americans receive from various media sources, here is how survey participants ranked different news media:

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

News Sources

Interestingly, credibility ratings from participants for nearly all types of media rose slightly from a year ago. Here is how they scored them in terms of credibility:

– 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)

The survey also looked at media use by demographic. It indicates an increased use of online sources for news and information among the college educated, Hispanics, and people making over $100,000 a year, when compared to the general population. In addition, the younger the respondent, the more likely they were to rely on online sources.

– Respondents with household incomes of $100,000 or more receive considerably more news and information from online sources (23.1 percent versus 14.6 percent for the general population).
– College graduates reported using online sources more frequently (20.0 percent).
– People 18-to-34 reported the highest reliance on online sources (22.2 percent).
 -Hispanic respondents were more likely to prefer online sources (21.0 percent).

The publishing industry is of course struggling to find ways to make money in a world where people would rather get their news from free online sources than pay subscription fees, or for content at all. This week PaidContentUK shared results from a study that found the majority of people (unsurprisingly)would seek a free alternative if their favorite news site started charging for content.