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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 1977

Explosive access to news today amidst scrutiny about fairness

By Philip Fernando in Los Angeles

Access to news has risen exponentially and its dissemination became more diverse than before. However, many readers were broadly critical of the news they received. Media practices that marginalize public interest downplay minority issues and dissenting views points were abhorred. So were shoddy news stories. A far more vigilant outlook about the press had arrived.

Amidst all that, an enlightened citizenship seemed the ultimate safeguard against the dominant media conglomerates, flunky public broadcast groups and the promotion of strong non-profit sources of information existing within the growth in access.

Downside to infusion of technology

The Internet, mobile phones, tweets and the explosive growth of cable networks have profoundly changed the equation. Pushing a few buttons or hitting few mouse clicks had enabled us to gain fresh insights essentially never available to earlier generations. There was also a downside to this power. How the news could be filtered to get to the veracity of what was being reported? Are we able to separate the wheat from the chaff? Those were baffling issues indeed.

Were we inundated with too much information (TMI) –how could we filter the truth out of a reservoir of information flooding us? A mere Google search would produce reams of information. Often there were conflicting points of view expressed within several points of view presented.

Filtering the news

The task to get an informed view through the maze of views or facts was difficult. Many relied solely on the internet—university tutorials were a testimony to the availability of vast areas of hitherto inaccessible data. The challenge was to arrive at an accurate assessment after reading through all that stuff. Avoiding urban myths and ill-founded conclusions were a challenge. Opinions and facts had to be differentiated. We needed to know who provided the information and what background they professed. A credibility check seemed vital.

Technology now permitted us to automate processes that used to be time consuming and fraught with mistakes, such as the buying and selling of online advertising inventory –the data managing platforms DMPs, digital signal processing-DSPs and a host of such things. The search business had become complex. We had to access and draw reliable conclusions from reliable information that machines may not be able to.

Most read or viewed news outlets

Meanwhile, The Guardian’’ had passed the New York Times’’ to become the world’s second most popular English-language newspaper website, according to the latest monthly traffic figures from comScore. BBC headed the list.

Last month theguardian.com website network recorded 42.6 million worldwide unique visitors, a 12.3% month-on-month increase, according to comScore report on desktop web usage. The New York Times’’ drew 41.6 million worldwide unique visitors, up 8% month on month (see data at the end).

Readers kept up with news all day

Many kept up with the news is an activity that occurs throughout the day and across different formats, devices, and technologies. A recent survey asked when they prefer to watch, read, or hear news, a plurality (33 percent) reported following the news all throughout the day. A smaller but sizable number of Americans continue to preferred to follow the news in the morning (24 percent) and in the evening (26 percent), while still lesser numbers said they most often get news in the afternoon (4 percent) and right before bed (9 percent).

Delving deeper into news

Overall, 4 in 10 Americans report that they delved deeper into a particular news subject beyond the headlines in the last week. When they did, that in-depth reading, watching, or listening followed a similar pattern to news consumption generally, with a plurality (34 percent) saying there is no particular time they prefer to read in-depth news. That finding challenged the notion that while Americans may get headlines continuously, they reserve the evening for learning more.

In addition, a slightly larger number, 49 percent of adults, said they delved deeper to learn more about the last breaking news story they paid attention to, though time of day was not probed for this, given that news may break at any time.

Devices used

Americans followed the news on a wide variety of devices, including through television, radio, print versions of newspapers and magazines, computers, cell phones, tablets, e-readers, and devices such as an Xbox or PlayStation that link the internet to a television. Americans on average reported that, during the past week, they followed the news using four different devices or technologies. The most frequently utilized devices include television (87 percent), laptops/computers (69 percent), radio (65 percent), and print newspapers or magazines (61 percent).

However, as the number of devices a person owns increases, they are more likely to report that they enjoy keeping up with.

And generally, levels of trust in the news discovered through sharing — either verbally or electronically — are low. Just 27 percent say they trust a good deal (very much or completely) the information they receive through electronic sharing with friends, and 21 percent have similar levels of trust for information they receive by word-of-mouth.

Overall, Americans report that they trust the information they get from local TV news stations to a greater degree than any other source of news, with 52 percent who seek out local TV news saying that they trust the information very much or completely. At similar levels, 51 percent of those who use the newswires say they trust them, 48 percent trust radio news, and 47 percent trust newspapers and the three broadcast networks, NBC, ABC, and CBS. Forty-four percent of those who use cable news say they have a high level of trust in it. Users of magazines (print or online) as a source of news report slightly more modest levels of trust (40 percent completely or very much).

Online-only sources of the news such as Yahoo! News, Buzz Feed, or The Huffington Post, and blogs garner lower levels of trust. One in 4 users of these news sources say they trust them completely or very much, while 1 in 5 users say they trust them only slightly or not at all. Levels of trust in different news sources

Question: How much do you trust the information you get from…?

Contrary to the idea that people now tend to trust news sources that share their point of view, taken together the findings suggest that rates of trust are highest for news operations that have less editorial opinion built into their model, such as local television news and wire services.

Here are some of the popular news websites

Huffington Post:110,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors |

CNN : 95,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors |

New York Times: 70,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors |

NBC: 63,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors |

Washington Post-| 47,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors |

Wall Street Journal:40,000,000 - Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors

The podcast audience is 57 million Americans in total.

Twitter has more members than that (many more, actually) the research shows their active user base is on-par with the overall podcast audience.

- Asian Tribune -

Explosive access to news today amidst scrutiny about fairness
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