Research is all about the source

In one week, we’ve had two “studies” telling us different things about where Americans get their news.

In a report from Magid and Hearst-Argyle, most people choose local TV news. The study made mouths water and lips smack as a chorus of “we told you so” rang from the board rooms of various local broadcast companies.

Not only is local TV news content the biggest audience draw for news and information on-air and on digital platforms – it is also the most effective video advertising platform, according to new research results…

But a second report, this one from Zogby International, reveals that the Internet is the top source of news for nearly half of Americans. Two thirds, the survey found, are dissatisfied with the quality of journalism, calling it “out of touch.”

So who do you believe? Both can’t be right. The truth is neither is right. The Magid study is of 2,700 viewers of local news. Of course, they’d say that local news is their top choice. The Zogby study is of 1979 adults on the Web. Of course, they’d say the Web is their top source for news.

We badly need research in this area, but we shouldn’t pay any attention whatsoever to studies like these, because research is all about the source.


  1. Terry, great article, excellent example. and as a huge “new intake junky” myself, I can say that both are important, where do we tend to get most of our news? Yes, this is a very good question, and some say news is like politics and all news is local. Maybe, but without proper research, its just all talk. In fact, it seems to me that your notes here are interesting in that you show these “news polls” for what they are. It seems like liars figure and figures lie, often enough is the real truth.

    In B2B Magazine which is a print magazine touting the greatness of Online Marketing, which is funny in itself, it showed a study that radio, TV and newspapers were making a slight come back in advertising, of course that is only because those media outlets work best for elections and there are big bucks being spent. Thus, they must keep up the image that people are viewing, thus more studies, “done by them” to promote themselves. Still, I found it ironic that B2B Magazine agreed with the stats.

    Of course, when it comes down to it, most politicians are getting a greater percentage of their contributions online so there is lots of push for valuable content, locally, regionally and even nationally and global. I found your comments spot on, and this is a deep question, that I too would like answered with empirical data, real research, unbiased. Great article, you certainly got me thinking, Lance

  2. Well, the results of the latest Gallup poll are in.

    Forty-one percent of the people weren’t home.

    Thirty-six percent pretended they weren’t home.

    Thirteen percent could not operate the doorknob.

    And ten percent were wearing underwear and had to stand sideways.

    -George Carlin

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