Would today’s news consumer prefer an accurate story that loads slowly -- or an inaccurate story that loads quickly?
Well, the vast majority of U.S. consumers still value news accuracy above all else -- but, for most, load times are also pretty darn important.
Across demographics, 85% of Americans say it’s “extremely” or “very important” that news organizations get their facts right, according to a nationally representative survey conducted earlier this year by the Media Insight Project, and funded by the American Press Institute.
While not quite as high, a very respectable 63% cite fast load times as most important to them, while 60% say it’s most important that the news viewing experience syncs perfectly with their mobile devices.
The findings obviously bode well for Facebook’s Instant Articles service -- which promises faster load times for partner publishers -- and Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages Project, which is expected to launch in October.
It’s also worth noting that people’s priorities vary by topic. Among close followers of traffic and weather, for instance, 72% care more that such content presents well on their mobile phones. Yet, among consumers of national political news, only 55% say they are overly concerned about seamless mobile experiences.
Far more troubling for platforms and publishers is the finding that 63% of consumers cite ads -- or, actually, a lack of them -- as most important to them.
Meanwhile, people who rely on social media heavily for news report being highly skeptical of the news they encounter in those networks. In fact, just 12% of those who get news on Facebook, for instance, say they trust it a lot or a great deal. At the high end, just 23% say they have a lot or a great deal of trust in news they encounter on LinkedIn.
To overcome that general skepticism, social media news consumers say they look for cues to help them know whom to trust. The most important of those -- cited by 66% of Facebook news consumers -- is trust in the original news organization that produced the content.