While newspaper circulations continue to decline and the media companies behind them face massive upheaval, research from industry body News Works suggests that pulp and ink still play an important role in New Zealand current affairs – especially when it comes to credibility and trustworthiness.
The TNS-conducted study surveyed 747 New Zealanders online, who read at least one daily newspaper a week (or a Sunday paper) and also use the internet. A further 12 were interviewed in person.
Newspapers lead other sources of news for reliability and credibility – beating out magazines, radio, TV and online.
While newspapers are seen has highly credible, they lag behind online news sources when it comes to timeliness, balance and the depth of reporting for stories. Update: The 'internet' component also includes newspaper websites such as nzherald.co.nz and stuff.co.nz, which adds towards the overall rating.
News Works says attitudes consumers have to editorial content of also reflects in the effectiveness of advertising. Consumers trust newspaper-advertised products to be legitimate (with only 8 percent disagreeing), while 43 percent say they wonder if online ads are legitimate. Just over one in ten find it difficult to trust newspaper advertising comparing to the more than third who say the same about internet ads, and 22 percent for TV.
Ad intrusiveness and banner fatigue were also queried in the survey. Only nine percent of respondents say newspaper ads are "really annoying", whilst 34 percent say the same of internet ads and 50 percent for TV ads.
As the recent success of California-based Orange County Register shows – local news is powerful (and commercially attractive). News Works says the same goes for New Zealand papers, with 68 percent of respondents saying local rags help them stay connected with community news and 53 saying percent saying it helps them find local services – compared to 49 and 23 percent respectively when it comes to online.