CM1023B Project: Classroom vs Real World - How People Consume the News



Campus Survey Data Analysis (compared with the CM1023 news diaries)


Group 2 Authors: Mariana Vergara, Katie Zambrano, Michael Sam, Nora Cramer, Imaniushindi Fanga


AIMS AND METHODOLOGY

This course focuses on the types of ways audiences consume media. The news survey we conducted was an extension of that focus. We considered a hyperlocal audience to draw from for our final conclusions. The survey conducted was intended to test people’s habits and awareness when consuming news media. Often, people take the rise of ubiquitous information for granted and their consumption goes unchecked. The main purpose of the study was to observe and identify how conscious certain people are of their news consumption, how they access their news, from which sources, how they share it, and with whom they share it. It was important to take into consideration the demographics of our respondents, language, nationality, sex, and age, as well as the categories that gaged our respondents’ investment in news and different genres of news. With this type of quantitative data, we can discern if audiences/the community have a healthy relationship with the news media in terms of its reliability and viability, especially when the most frequently trafficked media sites are the subsidiaries of conglomerate media enterprises. The question raises important questions of who controls the narrative of major media sites/news. The survey aims to gage where news media looks to find its audience. We can also question the relevancy of older forms of media like television, newspapers, and radio and whether they are still effective platforms to disseminate information to the public. Especially at a time where mobile communication essentially drives current media traffic.

The data was collected through a campus-wide survey that was sent out to the AUP student body via email. The survey was sent to approximately 1000 students on March 22nd 2017. In our survey we constructed a series of ten questions to investigate the habits of our AUP community as consumers of news media. We formulated questions that addressed what participants found to be reliable new sources, in what language they accessed the news, and what major online news media platforms they used most frequently. Eighty students responded to the survey. We compared the results of this survey with the results of our in-class news diaries to look for differences and similarities.


LIMITATIONS OF THE METHODOLOGY

The data collection presented us with several constraints and limitations. The first limitation presented itself in the form of the number of individuals that answered the survey. Out of a target audience of 1000, only 80 individuals answered the survey. This resulted in us obtaining a miniscule sample size. This placed a hefty constraint in the validity of our data as it placed a significant concern on whether the sample accurately represented the AUP community and the ways in which they approach and interact with different forms of media. This issue was amplified by the fact that our sample size was based off random sampling. This suggests that our data is not significant enough to account for anomalies nor does it accurately represent the AUP community in terms of properly representing its different demographics.

A secondary issue that we encountered was the fact that there was a significant time lag between collection of data from our class (news diaries), and the moment in which we received and analyzed the survey results. This constraint was only magnified by external factors like major changes to the political climate (US election). The time lag made it very challenging to compare the results that Group 1 found in analyzing CM1023s’ news diaries and the results that Group 2 found when surveying the general AUP community as the information was gathered in separate time periods in which the external factors that could influence one’s consumption of media were significantly different.

By taking into consideration the two limitations mentioned above, we can already objectively judge the quality and accuracy of our data. When combining the fact that our sample size was miniscule and did not accurate the different demographics in AUP, along with the fact that we were forced to compare data from two significantly different time periods, it would be feasible to state that the conclusions that were derived from the comparison of the results from Group 1 and 2 are inconclusive and cannot be validated based off the current available data.

In order to formulate feasible hypotheses or support the ones we formulated, this project would have to be redone in a such way that the news diaries and surveys collect data from the same time period and that the sample from the AUP community accurately reflects the different demographics of the members of that community, and that the sample is large enough to identify and eliminate anomalies.


ANALYSIS

Based on the data, the majority of the AUP community access their news from online sources and more specifically from news applications set for smart phones. The respondents preferred news generated from word of mouth second to online sources. AUP males checked their news more frequently during a one day period than females. The geographical origins of the news our participants are engaging with is mainly coming from the United States. This finding is similar to our results from CM 1023. 67.5% of the participants are Americans. Our findings show us that the main language the participants watched and read their news is in English. The most represented type of news from the different age groups surveyed chose international news. Most of the participants preferred hard news over soft news. 73% of the participants were under 25 and only 6% were over the age of 30. Our study found that only 34.6% of our community who participated were very invested and most are just somewhat invested in the news. The participants mostly trust professional news organisations over other sources. Based on our findings we do not believe our results completely represent the entire university or much less in relation to global findings. It was a considerably small sample size and less than 10% of AUP students were represented.

Given that the demographic that was polled were mainly millennials, it was surprising to see what kind of news they were interested in because the answers we received were remarkably distinct. Either participants marked that they were into hard news/very interested in the news or they were into soft news/hardly interested in the news. Most of the participants however leaned towards the former. which was surprising to see that the infamously nonchalant millennials were so invested in today’s issues.

CONCLUSIONS

These days we receive news instantly and at the moment it happens. Previous generations typically received their news through the newspaper of the evening news. Breaking stories were kept until the end of the day and recipients had to wait to hear what was going on in the world. The accessibility and swiftness of today’s news has expanded our horizons for better and for worse. For better, in the sense that if mass danger was to occur, the community could be notified immediately and can seek safety. For worse, in the sense that the phenomena of “fake news” is a rapidly spreading trend that we must be on the lookout for.

Fortunately, in our findings we remarked that unlike most millennials who more frequently consume and are influenced by soft news, the AUP community mainly relies on hard news. It was surprising how invested the AUP community is in hard news. Originally, we considered that our class was invested in hard news because of the current political climate of the United States. However, the campus news survey shows that 63.3% of the AUP community regularly consumes hard news. Additionally, those who responded to the survey in the 18 to 20 age group said that they were most interested in international, domestic, political, local and scientific news before sports, novelty and entertainment news. Not only were respondents invested in hard news, but they also intentionally checked the news from between one and five times a day. We should note here that AUP is a global community where the majority of students are living outside of their country of origin and therefore are more interested in global news.



Visual Presentation of the Analysis