Survey Says: Students Prefer Print Publications

Twice as many University of Oregon students still read traditional print media more often than their electronic counterparts, a poll conducted Tuesday concluded.

The unscientific survey, which consulted a random sampling of 10 junior or senior year students, found that 60 percent of students sampled received most of their news from traditional print, with another 10 percent identifying as occasional readers. Thirty percent reported never reading print news.

The study also found that students spent more time reading from paper than off a computer screen. Sixty percent of students reported spending less than one hour a day on the Internet, with 30 percent spending three hours or so online.  Ten percent spent more than four hours per day on the Internet, although those who reported more time spent online also acknowledged that not all of the time was spent productively.

Compare this with the half of the surveyed students who reported reading print materials for more than one hour a day. Despite the fact that 40 percent read less than an hour a day, 30 percent read for two hours a day, and another 10 percent read for more than three.

Most of the students surveyed listed the website of a major newspaper as their preferred news source. The New York Times, Oregonian and BBC were the top read, although they also favored some news blogs, such as the Drudge Report and Huffington Post.

The majority of students also generally trusted their news sources. Sixty percent of students thought that news stories were generally accurate, and 30 percent thought they were “sometimes accurate.” When asked if they would trust campus publication the Oregon Daily Emerald or local newspaper the Register-Guard if conflicting stories were published, most sided with the latter. Some, however, were suspicious of the larger paper.

“I think I believe in [the] Emerald,” said Yui Aoki, a junior in the American English Institute at the University of Oregon. “Media are biased by people who have power and money. Not only conservatives, but liberals [too].”

Others believed that campus publications like the Oregon Daily Emerald were too close to students to report on them objectively. Sixty percent of students also felt that media generally have a leftist bias, although most aid it depended on the source.

TV news draws in half of students, but also proved more polarizing, with 40 percent of students saying they did not watch broadcast media – 10 percent more than did not read a print newspaper. Print magazines also fared well with students, with 80 percent reading at least one. Vogue was a favorite of students; with Rolling Stone, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, and Time trailing close behind.

Despite the relatively small amount of time spent online by most students, social media is a popular entity in their lives. One hundred percent of students reported having a Facebook account, which they used mostly to keep in contact with friends and family. Only ten percent of students sampled were users of Twitter, though, and none maintained any sort of blog. Students of journalism were not included as subjects in the survey.

About benmaras

For three years I was a writer, page designer, and editor for the Clackamas Community College newspaper, The Clackamas Print, as Editor-in-Chief, Commentary Editor, and News Editor. I also wrote for the Oregon Commentator, out of the University of Oregon.
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