A large part of my job as AL.com’s statewide community engagement specialist is understanding our users. We want to know what readers want from our news organization and how they want it. The problem is, that’s not a thing you can figure out once and expect it to forever be the same. Our readers’ behavior is constantly changing, as technology evolves and as people adapt to new technology (or, in some cases, not).
Although surveying people about their news consumption habits is not a new idea, it’s still valuable, and one can expect the results to change over time, even if the exact same people are surveyed each time. I don’t consume news the same way I did five or ten years ago. I’ve always been a tech lover, but in recent years, I’ve moved to almost exclusively reading news online — during work hours that means on my laptop, and outside that, I read almost everything on my iPhone or iPad.
How have your news consumption habits changed?
To help paint a picture of the most current news consumption habits, I created a short online questionnaire using SurveyMonkey. First, I ask for basic information: Age, gender, location and education level. The survey would not be useful if I didn’t have personal factors to correlate with the news consumption behaviors that I ask about next.
The second page of the survey asks some simple questions about the respondent’s relationship with print products, TV and radio news, and computers and mobile devices. Then, I use a scale-style question to ask about how many times a week the respondent uses the various media.
Last, I ask about differences in types of content versus the medium. For example, when I read business stories, it’s almost always during my work day, when I’m in front of a computer. However, I often read news on my phone. While I may not always have a computer around, my phone is always within my reach. My news apps’ push notifications tell me when something big is breaking, and I also get a lot of my news from my Twitter app, so it’s natural for me to click through and read the full stories on my phone.
I’m sure I’m not the only person whose habits vary depending on the category of content, so I am interested to see how others prefer to consume different types of stories. The categories I included are news, business, sports, entertainment and living.
So now that you’ve read all about my survey, why not take it? I’ll report my findings here on my blog next week!