Printed newspapers and their websites are the most trusted by the public

Printed newspapers and their websites are the most trusted by the public

Media ·

Three out of four people in Spain get their information from newspapers, according to a BBVA Foundation study on information consumption patterns

Carlos Benito


Friday, 9 June 2023, 16:27

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It is not so easy to inform ourselves about how we inform ourselves. That is, we all know how we do it ourselves, but, in a complex and changing society where information flows through more and more channels, trends are difficult to discern. Sometimes we take it for granted that everyone uses the media in the same way as we do, and then we are surprised to find that they don't, that we as people have developed multiple strategies to keep up to date.

Spain's BBVA foundation has now shed light on this issue with its survey, Study on Information Consumption Patterns.

"It is clear that there has been a significant change in the channels used to access information, with the internet playing a key role. However, the conventional media have adapted and remain relevant through the reinvention and expansion of channels and formats," the study authors said. One thing has not changed at all: 75% of all people consider that being informed about current affairs is "very important".

And why is this "important"? Because it allows us to "understand what is going on" (a reason given by seven out of ten information consumers) and helps us when "making decisions" (an argument that is particularly strong among young adults and those with a university education). In fact, 47% of the population spends more than an hour a day informing themselves, although habits vary according to age. Young people are particularly likely to spread their consumption over multiple short consultations throughout the day.

"Conventional media continues to occupy a fundamental part of the information map," the study concluded. More than 80% of people turn to television, 75% read a newspaper (in print or digital versions) and 63% listen to the radio. Logically, the percentages add up to more than a hundred because eight out of ten people in Spain use more than two media: in fact, 43% regularly follow five or more.

If we establish a ranking, 31% use mainly television, 24% prefer newspapers, 20% prefer radio and 17% opt for social media networks. The breakdown of the survey data shows that television is particularly popular among the over-64s, newspapers among people with a university education, and social media networks (not so surprisingly) among young people.

Three out of four people use newspapers for information, but access to the press has undergone a revolution in the last decade. Of these readers, 14% focus only on printed newspapers and 58% exclusively on digital newspapers, while 26% combine both formats, not always from the same titles.

Newspapers remain the main source of information in the digital world: of those who use the web to keep up to date, 59% consult the websites of newspapers that also have print editions, 53% exclusively read digital media and 50% follow newspapers on social media networks. Two out of ten subscribe to some form of media. In terms of the trust map, printed newspapers have the highest level of trust and, in fact, the study shows that people give more credibility to the websites of print media than to those that are only published in digital format.

The most widespread way of accessing news continues to be by directly visiting the media's website and checking its front page (80% of those who get their news online do so), followed by consulting search engines (74%) and links on social media networks (59%). In fact, the networks have become "a way of connecting with conventional media", as a large proportion of users follow a media outlet (55%) or journalist (47%). When they receive a link to a news item, respondents decide its credibility according to the person who sent it to them (6.7 out of 10) and the media outlet that published it (6.2 out of 10).

The BBVA foundation study also looks at the penetration of the different social media networks in society. In this order, the most popular are WhatsApp (used by 91% of people in Spain of legal age), YouTube (58%), Instagram (46%), Facebook (45%), Twitter (23%), TikTok (20%), Telegram (18%), LinkedIn (14%) and Twitch (10%), but the most interesting thing is to discriminate this rate of use according to factors such as age.

The researchers have found, for example, that Instagram is the most popular among 18-24 year olds (92%, even more than WhatsApp in society as a whole), that the group with the highest proportion of Facebook users is adults aged 35-44 (65%, which drops to 17% among those under 24), and that Twitter does not even reach 15% among those over 55.

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