I heard about this story a couple of weeks ago when I was driving to work. I generally listen to a Top 40 station, a CD, or perhaps a podcast from my iPod. Sometimes, I’m in the mood for something a little different, and I turn to the all news station. This particular time, they were having a call-in show, and the topic was “Do you believe the accuracy of the survey results indicating 77% of Canadians read the newspaper, in either print or online form?” It was a short drive, and I think that I only heard 3 or 4 callers, but the message was the same. “Not a chance”
I love the newspaper. Well, I love the newspaper in general. I can’t stand our local rag, The Telegraph Journal. It’s ok for making paper mache projects, or laying on the floor for the dog to crap on, but that’s about the extent of it. If I want to read the news, I’ll pick up a Globe and Mail.
Admittedly, most of my news gathering comes from TV news channels, local nightly news, and online, particularly CNN, CANOE, or Canada.com. Yet I still enjoy picking up a newspaper. There’s something about the feel of a paper in your hands that just can’t be replicated by any other media. The newspapers are also great places for being able to read in depth news on hot topics. While TV news generally doesn’t provide much more than a quick sound bite, and online news is all about getting the headline and main idea to you before your eyes glaze over, a decent paper can devote a large section to a story if warranted.
But even as much as I love reading the newspaper, do I really believe that 77% of Canadians share my feelings? Even in online form? Absolutely not. According to this NADbank survey pasted all over newspapers (not that I blame them) “77 per cent of Canadians read the news in some form — either a traditional paper or online.”
I took stats class in university. I wasn’t very good at it, so I’m not going to try to debunk the accuracy of this survey with terms that I don’t remember, and barely understood even on a good day. But I’ll go with my gut instinct. 77% of Canadians do not read the newspaper, in ANY form. Dilbert doesn’t count. Not on a regular basis. I think we’re typically a blissfully ignorant bunch. As I look around me, I don’t see too many people reading the news in any form. That’s not to say that there aren’t people who do. But 77%? No way.
I’d say that it’s a nice little survey to attract dwindling advertising dollars, by giving the illusion of a broader target audience.
I had originally thought that I should have a poll at the end of this, but then I thought.. “It’s on a blog.. chances are people who read this blog probably read the news.”
Now, if only I could get 77% of Canadians to read WhatAboutStephen.com