The PEW News Study – Erickson Media


The PEW News Study

The PEW News Study

Did you notice?

Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism released a really interesting study on news comsumption just about a year ago.

Despite your initial thought, it did not take me a year to digest it. I just thought several points you may have paid brief attention to when this report was released were worth a second glance.*

1. Mobile news consumers are 50% more likely than other adults to read the print version of a national newspaper, such as the Wall Street Journal or New York Times.

That one doesn’t fit most of our preconceptions about printed news in the burgeoning era of smart phones.

2. Only 2% of all Americans surveyed get their news exclusively from the internet.

Radio, TV, and print are all still in the mix, and the overwhelming majority (92%) use multiple platforms to access news content.

3. As with music on radio stations, and advertisements everywhere, users want to remix your news offering to meet their personal tastes.

42% of those who browse news online say it is “important” to them to be able to customize the news they get at an internet site. Think Google News. And then think how you might accomdate this need with any of the types of information you offer on your own station website.

4. Devotion to objectivity is a myth.

This shouldn’t surprise me in the age of FOX and CNN, but it did a bit. Most people choose the news source that never challenges their beliefs or points of view. In other words, they want reinforcement more than they want to see information on most topics in a new way.

And now for the real shocker…

5. Local news is nowhere near the top of most people’s news wishlists.

  • 81% go online to check local weather.
  • 73% are interested in national events.
  • 66% want information on health and medicine.
  • 64% check online for news on business and the economy.
  • 62% care about international events.
  • 60% are interested in science and technology.

In fact, asked what subject they would like to receive more coverage, 44% said scientific news and discoveries, 41% said religion and spirituality, 39% said health and medicine, and news about their state government, and at the bottom of the list, 38% said their neighborhood or local community.

These days, global media coverage, and the internet, make the bombing in the Moscow airport, or the Tucson shooting a more compelling local story than the rear-ender down your street.

You still have to find stories that are interesting, and you have to tell them in a way that maximizes human connection.

I hope this helps you shape your content, because one thing is clear from all this research: your listeners look for the information they want over several platforms, including yours, both on-air and online.

That’s worth keeping top of mind as we read about consolidated radio companies cutting news writers, producers, and readers…



*Source: Nieman Journalism Lab