Media myths report shock – people like local media

Posted on: April 25, 2007

The recent report – Media Myths and Realities – from the Ketchum public relations consultancy about media trends in the US made for interesting reading, as it sought to allay what it sees are myths. The most interesting of them was the continued importance of local media, which in the US means the major metropolitan dailies and television (and not the dire local freesheets that we suffer from in many other countries).

For me, the most surprising piece of data was that at least half (52.3%) of 18 to 24 year olds read newspapers, especially those reporting on their home patch. The percentage of the population to “take a paper” steadily rises to 83.4% of grey panthers (65 and older), but there must be a major behavioural different in media consumption from one side of the Atlantic to the other.

As a PR educator, I find it difficult to get our ‘communicators of tomorrow’ to get away from the headlines offered online and pick up a newspaper. And my daily commuting on trains and buses in England shows little evidence of young people reading newspapers. Most are permanently plugged into MP3 players.

Other headlines from the research were the importance of family and friends in making decisions. Around 43.7% of Americans rely on word-of-mouth recommendation when making product or service decisions, but only 13.8% take note of celebrity endorsement. Ketchum sees a strong future for “amplified word of mouth” as a marketing communication method.

Part of Ketchum’s aim in conducting the survey was to allay what it sees as a “myth” that media communication was all online now but there are some impressive results in the adoption of social media across all age groups and, specially, amongst influencers. A multi-media online-offline mix is the way forward.


2 Responses to "Media myths report shock – people like local media"

I smell the strong Marketing influence in the Ketchum “amplified word of mouth” concept. Is this spin, bling, hype or good old fashioned scream marketing?

Once again, the fundamental research has not been done and PR skims over the swamp of social science, sniffing the malodourous scent of yet more opinionated answers seeking questions.

Until we understand more about what makes up relationships this sort of bling is just misleading.

How people make decisions is much deeper than reading a newspaper or blog.


I agree with the last statement you made about multi-media online-offline mix being the way forward.

Since starting my MSc degree I have continually heard that young people no longer read newspapers and we are all getting our news online. From my experience this is not true and could be considered scare mongering. I think the issue lies deeper in society and it is purely a case of young people being completely uninterested in news in general, unless it involves Jade Goody or Kate Moss.

David, above, is correct in pointing out that more has to be done in terms of social science research instead of public relations relying on surveys conducted by companies such as Ketchum, as we all know that surveys can be bias and do not always reflect society.


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Tom Watson

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