Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Outsell study finds 61% get local news from newspapers

Originally published February 28, 2006

61% get local news from newspapers

By Nick Madigan
Baltimore Sun reporter

People looking for local news still tend to reach for their hometown
newspaper, but television and the Internet continue to draw away
significant numbers of readers, according to a national survey being
released today.

A survey by the market research business Outsell Inc., which echoes other
recent studies, determined that 61 percent of consumers look to their
newspapers as an essential source for local news, events and sports,
followed by television (58 percent) and radio (35 percent). About 6
percent turn to the major Internet search engines for local news and

The survey of 2,800 consumers' news habits found that television is
consumers' top choice for national news. Seventy-one percent of
respondents said they rely on network, cable and satellite TV as primary
or secondary sources of national news. Thirty-three percent choose their
local newspapers first or second for coverage of national events, followed
by 28 percent who access sites such as Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL News.
Eleven percent of consumers are relying regularly on their daily
newspapers' Web sites, the survey said.

Consumers, the study found, "prefer the Web as the best route to news and
information about health, personal finance and travel."

In addition, it said, the "interactivity and personalization afforded by
the Internet" has not only cut into newspaper readership but has weakened
the link between reading and shopping, which ultimately costs publishers

"It's going to be really interesting to see whether newspapers are going
to be able to capitalize on the Internet from a financial point of view,"
said Rachel Smolkin, managing editor of American Journalism Review. "Even
as newspaper circulation is declining, we're seeing readership increases
in newspaper Web sites. It's not that readers aren't interested in news."

In a recent Harris Interactive poll of 2,985 U.S. adults, 75 percent of
those surveyed said they watch local broadcast news and 71 percent said
they watch network news.

The Harris poll also found that 64 percent of people get their news by
going online and that 54 percent listen to radio news broadcasts, 37
percent listen to talk radio and 19 percent listen to satellite news

A third poll found that as the pace of modernization has accelerated
worldwide, so has computer use and access to the Internet. The Pew Global
Attitudes survey found substantially more people using computers and going
online than in 2002.

And the poll found that although Internet users in 2002 were predominantly
younger people, the growth rate for adults older than 50 has outpaced that
for young adults in the United States and Western Europe.

AUTHOR's EMAIL: nick.madigan@baltsun.com


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