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Journalists have always had their critics. Back in the days of typewriters and carbon paper complaints would arrive in the post, often scraw...

23 April 2014

Media People Are Not Normal

Sometimes .. just sometimes .. a picture really does say it all. So it was when I found the shot below on Twitter a few days back, posted by Amy Pyle of the US-based Center for Invesigative Reporting:


Wow. So 'normal people' consume twice as much radio as 'media people', who are instead obsessed with their mobile apps by a margin approaching four to one over general consumers. That's an amazing claim, although entirely in line with my own perceptions.

I reposted the pic, and sparked the biggest response I've ever had to a single tweet.


Several people, both fellow journos and PR types, quite rightly queried the source and veracity of the stats and for a while I was worried; had I failed Twitter 101 and retweeted something uncritically?

Should I have allowed my own gut feeling and, yes, prejudices towards the overweening dominance of  snake-oil digital innovation let the trigger finger loose on the retweet button so easily?

I needn't have worried. Amy kindly messaged me back with this link to the source of the figures,

The full text is there, but highlights include:

  • 42% of media professionals listened to the radio, but almost twice that (80%) of the general population sample tuned in.
  • Media pros are much more likely to be heavy users of digital media – particularly mobile and social – and are much less likely to use traditional media such as TV and radio than average consumers.
  • Ninety-two percent of the media pros utilised mobile apps, and they used them for 11% of their waking day, on average. Only 25% of consumers utilise mobile apps, and use them for 6% of their waking time on average.
  • While the data are based on a small sample, the findings are striking, because the media pros reporting were so dramatically different than average consumers, especially when it came to their use of Internet-connected computers and mobile devices.

Everyone's agreed that more research needs to be done. That'll keep the universities happy.

The stats are now two years old, and that's several eons in digital time. The sample of 'professionals' used was very small (as the report acknowledges) and is not projectable to the wider population of 'media pros'.

But it does give pause for thought at a time when so much effort and emphasis is being devoted to giving trainee journalists digital skills.

A lesson I learned very early in my broadcast career was never to look down on the audience; despising or neglecting the tastes and interests of 'the punters' because they don't tally with your own is a sure-fire route to failure in any professional communication.

If these figures confirm anything, it's that radio is habitually overlooked and neglected by the 'media pros' (as I highlighted in a post earlier this week) and I'd be pretty sure that finding applies both sides of the pond - then and now.



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