Mobile Users Still Prefer Trusted Professional Journalism

By: Press Release | Reynolds Journalism Institute

COLUMBIA, Mo. – As sharing news on social media sites continues to grow, mobile users still prefer to get their news from trusted mainstream news sites rather than their friends. In addition, users strongly favor news stories produced by professional journalists. In part five of the Media News Consumption Survey the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute examined how mobile users and non-users view the news media.

“Our analysis suggests that digital content produced by professional journalists has a perceived value to the mobile consumer,” said Roger Fidler, RJI’s program director for digital publishing. “But we found that trust may be the single most important factor to this value as well as the most conflicted.”

Researchers also compared survey respondents who favor specific television news channels with how likely they are to trust the mainstream news media. Fidler found that those who favor the Fox and MSNBC cable news channels are much more likely to not trust the news media. While those who favor network news channels – ABC, CBS and NBC – tend to have an overall higher trust of the news media.

“With one in five respondents identifying Fox Cable News as their favorite national TV news channel, we can not ignore the influence of Fox on the attitudes of U.S. adults regarding their trust of the mainstream news media and professional journalists,” said Fidler.

Among mobile media users, younger respondents were most skeptical about getting their news from mobile digital services in the next 10 years. Only 35 percent of 18-34 year olds thought they expected to get all their news from mobile digital services within 10 years. That compares to 41 percent of 35-54 year olds and 40 percent of those 55 and older.

Fidler and Ken Fleming, associate director of research at RJI, conducted the 2012 Media News Consumption Survey using RJI’s Center for Advanced Social Research (CASR) at the Missouri School of Journalism. The staff of CASR interviewed more than 1,000 individuals randomly selected from phone number lists between January 17 and March 25, 2012. More than half of the participants used a cell phone. The questionnaire was designed to gather information on mobile news consumption from both users and non-users of mobile media devices.

Read part 1 of this survey, “Who owns mobile media devices in the U.S.?”; part 2, “What are owners doing with their mobile media devices?”; part 3, “Could tablets change the afternoon news cycle?“; and part 4, “How do owners of different mobile media device brands differ?

This article is Part 5 in a 6-part series. Fidler will answer ‘Where should news organizations focus their attention and resources? How can news organizations reach the largest segment of mobile media owners? What does the data suggest about the probable future of mobile media?’ next. Click here for more information about how the survey was conducted and the list of eight questions he plans to address.  

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