Friday, February 10, 2017

Survey: Digital News Readers May Not Recall Source

News outlets are looking to social media as a way to gain readers, but new research suggests that digital news consumers may not recall where they got their news from.

USAToday reports Social media and direct surfing to news organizations' web sites were nearly equally likely to be the most common ways users got news online, according to a new Pew Research Center survey, conducted with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and released Thursday.

The 2,004 online news consumers surveyed from Feb. 24-March 1, 2016, said they got news by going directly to a news outlet's site 36% of the time and through social media 35% of the time. About two-thirds (65%) said that more than half the time they used the same method of getting news.

Upon visiting a news site, consumers could recall the name of the news outlet, on average, 56% of the time, the survey found. That means 44% of the time, they could not remember what  source they had gotten the news from.

And consumers were more likely to remember the source if they got the link directly from the news outlet, via email or text alert, than from social media or from a friend's email or text message, the survey found. Among those who clicked on news links, 14% mentioned CNN, 12% mentioned Fox News and 10% simply listed Facebook as the source.

According to the Pew Survey, Younger and older online news consumers follow news links at the same rate, but younger adults are less likely to remember the source. When 18- to 29-year-old online news consumers clicked on news links, they remembered the source about half the time (47%), at least 10 percentage points less than their elders (57% for 30- to 49-year-olds and 61% for those 50 and older). And these younger online news consumers got their news through social media 47% of the time on average, about double the rate of those 50 and older (23%), and about on par with those ages 30 to 49 (42%). Those 50 and older, on the other hand, stand out for their heavier reliance on news organizations’ emails, texts and alerts.

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