Black and White and Not Very Read

Black and White and Not Very Read

According to a recent Harris Poll, in a survey of adults in five European countries, Australia and the United States, readership of major daily newspapers today ranges from a low of six percent of adults in Great Britain and Italy to a high of 13 percent in Spain and Germany. The number one source for each country is TV network news. Looking five years into the future, the lowest percentage of adults who indicate that major daily newspapers will be their source for news and information is in Great Britain and Italy (4% each) while the highest percentage is among German adults (12%).

Online sites have become the number one source of news and information for the United States, France, Italy, and Spain and are tied for first for Australian adults. TV network news will still be first for adults in Great Britain and Germany.

Across the countries, frequency of newspaper regular readership (5 or more days a week) varies greatly:

  • 48% of Spanish adults are regular readers
  • 46% percent of Germans
  • 39% of US adults are regular readers
  • 35%  of British adults
  • 34% of Italian adults
  • 33% of Australian adults
  • 26% of French adults regularly read the paper

Lack of time is the number one reason for not reading the newspaper for adults in:

  • United States (58%)
  • France (57%)
  • Germany (56%)
  • Australia (66%)

For 54% of British and Spanish adults, the top reason for not reading the newspaper is that it is biased or  has too narrow of a viewpoint in its reporting.

52% of Italian adults, 55% U.S. adults, 55% French adults and 49% of Australian adults say the top reason for not reading the newspaper is that it is easier to go online for news and information. The reports posits that this is something newspapers should be concerned with in moving towards the future.

Half or more of adults in Germany, Australia, France, US, and Spain access online news and information sites at least once a day. In Italy, this number jumps as three-quarters of adults. 28 percent of British adults access online news sites about once a week and one-third of British adults do not access online news sites with any regularity.

The majority of adults in all seven countries say it is important for newspapers to provide news and information about events in their region, country and the world, as well as to provide news they can use in their daily life and that is interesting to know.

In the United States Eight in ten U.S. adults say an important role of newspapers is in providing information that is needed to know how to vote, which is by far the highest of all the countries.

Looking to the future, says the report, respondents say that the top thing newspapers and their associated online news sites could do to better represent the issues in their communities would be to:

  • Ensure all points of views are represented.
  • Provide more research and findings on key issues
  • Raise the quality of writing and analysis

For more information on this report, including detailed results in charts and tables, please visit this site.


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