O.J. Trial Coverage Hard To Avoid p. 42

By: Debra Gersh Hernandez

Times Mirror Center study shows almost two-thirds of those
not interested in the case had read, watched or heard
something about it the day before they were surveyed sp.

EVEN THOSE WHO show little interest in live coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial cannot seem to get away from it, according to a new study from the Times Mirror Center for the People and the Press in Washington, D.C.
Despite the fact that a third of the respondents said they were not that interested in tuning into the trial each day, 64% of them had read, watched or heard something about it the day before the survey.
Over half of the survey respondents have seen all or some of the live coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial; 11% almost all; 13% a lot of it; and 29% some of it. Only 16% of the public has seen none of the trial, while 31% said they’ve seen hardly any of it.
Of the 53% who have seen at least some of the trial, 19% said they look forward to tuning in and 32% said they are not that interested.
Television was the source of Simpson trial news for just over half (51%) of the 59% of all respondents who had heard or read anything about it the previous day, while newspapers were the source for 13%, radio for 11%, and magazines 2%.
(Respondents were allowed to give multiple answers.)
Overall, of the 59% who watched, read or heard something about the trial the previous day, 52% said they had read a newspaper, 77% watched TV news, and 52% listened to radio news.
Further, among the 19% of all respondents who look forward to tuning in, nearly three-quarters (73%) said they watched, heard or read something about the trial on the previous day, and most of them turn to television (66%) instead of newspapers (19%), radio (11%) or magazines (4%).
Seventy percent of those who said they were following almost all of the live coverage of the trial use both TV and newspapers as their news sources, while 19% rely only on television and 3% turn solely to newspapers.
Yet, of all those people who both watch TV news and read newspapers, only 13% said they had viewed almost all of the trial so far. A greater number (44%) said they had seen hardly any or none of the live coverage.
Not surprisingly, of all respondents who said they get their news only from a newspaper, 67% had seen hardly any or none of the live coverage. Of those who have watched almost all of the trial, only 3% use the newspaper as their sole news source.
The center found that a daily newspaper was read regularly by 71% of the public, but there was a 13% decline over the past year among those who said they read one on the previous day ? 45% in the latest survey, compared to 58% in February 1994.
Newspapers were not alone, however, as network TV news also saw a decline among those who watched on the previous day ? 61% in the latest report vs. 74% a year ago. Nevertheless, 82% of respondents said they regularly watch TV news programs.
Among those who read a newspaper on the previous day, 16% spent 30-59 minutes with it (compared to 21% in February 1994); 14% spent 15-29 minutes (15% in 1994); 9% read the paper for less than 15 minutes (7% a year ago); and 6% spent an hour or more with the newspaper (14% in the February 1994 report).
For the most part, more people who regularly read newspapers and watched television news reported they very closely followed last month’s major news stories than those who relied on one medium or the other.
The exception was the Simpson trial, where there was little difference between the 25% of consumers of both TV news and newspapers who very closely followed the story and the 26% of viewers of TV news only who were equally interested. Ten percent of those who said they read a newspaper regularly but do not watch TV news said they very closely followed the trial.
News stories about the floods in California were followed very closely by 42% of respondents who consume both TV news and newspapers, but were very closely followed by 36% of TV news viewers and just 24% of those who only read newspapers.
Reports about the condition of the U.S. economy were very closely followed by 33% of those who use both TV and newspapers as news sources, but only 18% of TV viewers and 23% of newspaper readers showed the same level of interest.
The gas attack on a Tokyo subway was very closely followed by 31% of respondents who get their news from television and newspapers. However, only 24% of those who only watch TV news and 16% of newspaper readers reported very closely following the story.
Thirty percent of dual-media news consumers reported very closely following news of the new Republican leaders in Congress, but only half as many TV viewers or newspaper readers (15% each) were as interested.
The drop in the value of the U.S. dollar was very closely followed by 28% of users of both media news, and by 16% of TV-only and 17% on newspaper-only consumers.
Among those who read newspapers and watch TV news regularly, 27% said they very closely followed news about the defeat of the balanced budget amendment.
Eighteen percent of those who only watch TV news and 13% of newspaper readers were as interested.
Fifteen percent of respondents who rely on both media for their news said they very closely followed the financial and political instability in Mexico, but the same interest was shown by only 7% of TV news viewers and 12% of newspaper readers.
The civil war in Bosnia was very closely followed by 13% of TV and newspaper consumers, but by only 10% of TV-only and 8% of newspaper-only respondents.
?( Robert Shapiro and O.J. Simpson) [Photo & Caption]

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