Newspapers Hit New Low, Rank Below Internet, TV For Info

Print newspapers are losing their position as key sources of information in the minds of consumers, according to a new report from the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism's Digital Future Project.

While discouraging, this finding isn't particularly surprising, coming amid long-term declines in print circulation and advertising.

According to the USC survey, 56% of Internet users said they considered print newspapers to be "important" or "very important" sources of information. That's down from 60% just two years ago.

In the latest survey, print newspapers trail the Internet, at 78%, and TV, at 68%, as important sources of information. Somewhat paradoxically, Internet users expressed a fair amount of distrust for content which appears online, with 61% saying less than half this "information" is reliable, and 14% saying that little or none of it is reliable. (This last figure is up from previous years.)

Also, 18% of Internet users have stopped subscribing to a newspaper or magazine because they can get the same (or equivalent) content more conveniently or at lower cost online.

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Almost one-quarter -- 22% -- said they would not miss their print newspaper if it ceased publication. Tellingly, only 37% said they would switch to another paper in this hypothetical scenario.

In terms of advertising, a large majority of Internet users -- 70% -- said they find online advertising "annoying." But it appears to be better than paying for online content: 55% said they would rather have free content supported by online advertising than paid content.

5 comments about "Newspapers Hit New Low, Rank Below Internet, TV For Info".
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  1. Michael Lynn from Storandt Pann Margolis, July 29, 2010 at 9:26 a.m.

    WRONG
    Newspapers are losing ground to internet when you ask internet users. What about all media consumers?

    And what about some demographic breakouts? Bet if you ask boomers esp aging (?) the newspapers might not do too badly.

    Should be more skeptical and clear about data.

    Ah well.

  2. Judith Leverone from The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, July 29, 2010 at 10:04 a.m.

    Most likely only 37% of the respondents said they would switch to another newspaper because today most market are only served by one newspaper.

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, July 29, 2010 at 10:24 a.m.

    A dependable newspaper on every doorstep early every morning produced with a well paid staff including fact finding, ethical journalism would dramatically change rankings. Unfotunately, these trends are falling and failing. The Sam Zell's and his likes, before and after, whose primary interest is trying to refocus editorial in their own image and profiteering (although intended consequences are not always being fulfilled), are contributing to the demise of an industry which helped create them.

  4. Walter Hammock from Showcase Enterprises, July 29, 2010 at 10:31 a.m.

    And this is news how? Newspapers have been in steady decline for decades and as a boomer I have no need for a newspaper, I have a myriad of options that are quicker, more up to date and accurate. And without the editorial bent that has possessed reporters since Cronkite decided to make news rather than report it.
    I've seen the demos for newspapers, if you want a 50+ audience they rock. But they aren't attracting younger readers, they are printed on paper where the cost continue to rise, they will disappear as we know them.

  5. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, July 29, 2010 at 11:27 a.m.

    Anecdotally, when I moved here eleven years ago, and walked out each morning to get my newspaper out of the yard/driveway, I could look up and down the street and see newspapers laying in front of nearly every house. Nowadays there are maybe two or three (including mine). I'm turn 60 this year, so it's understandable I cling to old technology. But my younger wife stopped reading the local paper long ago and my younger neighbors canceled their deliveries about the same time. The newspaper did not change; it got better, I think. The problem is the internet. I follow one of the local reporters on Twitter, so most of my morning read is a refresher on what I first read on the laptop.

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