In what might be considered a vote of confidence, a recent national survey finds that in an emergency people will likely turn to television, radio and newspapers for their news - not the new media sources. Also noted in the press release:
On average, consumers are four to six times more likely to feel that traditional media is more trustworthy than emerging news sources [Internet user groups, blogs and chat rooms] for news they feel is most interesting.
Top pick news topics of interest (each selected by approximately a third of consumers) included entertainment, hobbies, weather, and food/cooking. Following closely was sports, selected by roughly two-in-ten consumers.
For entertainment, consumers most often picked traditional lifestyle media as the most trusted source. However, Internet blogs, user groups and chat rooms were selected next most often, followed by weekly or monthly general interest and news magazines. Radio came next, with special interest or topic-specific Internet sites following to round out the top five.
In line with America’s concern about weight and health, the survey identified that food was selected as a topic of interest nearly twice as often as politics/elections (29% vs. 15%).
One thought about these results is to look at what the competitive topics are for news in the general population and, by inference, you can draw some conclusions about what news outlets are looking for. If you work with news media you should be familiar with how they divide their news space into 'holes' for these various topics - often based on their perceptions of what their audience is most interested in watching, reading and hearing. And note how media consolidation, reduced news room staffs and smaller ad revenues are leading to the shrinking of news holes.
One of the tricks for earning media coverage has been not to just get 'my story' into the competitive space for its news hole, but how to leverage the story and its coverage to get into other holes as well - that's when you hear about a product, service or idea 'having legs' from a media POV. For example, when people talk about edutainment, they are describing how they leverage the entertainment hole for other purposes. Note that the hole is a valuable concept to apply to the audience and their predispositions to certain types of topics as it is to the media itself.