Two in Five Regularly Read Newspapers in US, Most Rely on TV

June 14, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Broadcast & Cable | Europe & Middle East | Newspapers | Television

There is still a place for newspapers in the new information age, but it’s not as expansive as it used to be, with less than 4 of 10 adults – 39% – in the US saying they regularly read daily newspapers, according to a recent Harris Poll.

Readership of major daily newspapers ranges from a low of 6% of adults in Great Britain and Italy to a high of 13% in Spain and Germany, according to a Harris survey of adults in five European countries, Australia and the United States.


The top source for news in each country is TV network news.

Respondents said, though, in five years online news and information sites would become the number one source of news and information in the US, France, Italy, and Spain (and tied for first in Australia), with TV network news remaining the top source only in Great Britain and Germany.


Newspaper readership

Almost half (48%) of Spanish adults and 46% of Germans are regular readers (5 or more days a week). Two out of five US adults (39%) are regular readers, as are one-third of British adults (35%), Italian adults (34%) and Australian adults (33%).

The number-one reason for not reading the newspaper is lack of time for US (58%), French (57%), German (56%) and Australian (66%) adults. For British and Spanish adults, the top reason is that it is biased or offers too narrow of a viewpoint in its reporting (54% for each).


Moreover, half or more of Italian, US, French and Australian adults, say it is easier to get their news online.


Half of adults in Germany and Australia as well as more than half of French (54%), US (56%) and Spanish adults (58%) access online news and information sites at least once a day.

In Italy, this number jumps as three-quarters of adults (74%) access online news sites at least once a day.

One-third (31%) of British adults do not access online news sites with any regularity and an additional 28% of them only access them about once a week.

Newspaper credibility

On a scale of 0 to 100, where “0” means newspapers have absolutely no credibility and “100” means complete credibility, adults in great Britain rate newspapers a score of 50 – the lowest – closely followed by Italy (mean of 52) and the United States (mean of 57).


Adults in France, Spain and Australia all are close in their attitudes towards newspapers’ credibility, with mean scores of 58, 59 and 60, respectively.

Adults in Germany have the strongest belief in newspapers’ credibility, giving them a score of 67.

Role of newspapers

Four out of five or more adults in all seven countries say it is important for newspapers to have roles such as providing news and information about events in their region, country and the world.

Three-quarters or more in each of the countries surveyed say an important role of newspapers is to provide news they can use in their daily life and news that is interesting to know.

One area where the United States varies from the other countries is in providing information that is needed to know how to vote: Eight in ten US adults (79%) say this is an important role of newspapers – by far the highest of all the countries.

Six in ten Italian and British adults (60% and 61%, respectively) apparently feel the same way.


About the study: The Harris Poll was conducted online by Harris Interactive within France, Germany, Great Britain and Spain (aged 16 and older) and adults in the United States, Australia, and Italy (aged 18 and over), May 2-14, 2007. By country, the totals surveyed were as followed: France 1,134; Germany 1,133; Great Britain 1,006; Italy 1,122; Spain 995; Australia 976; and the United States 2,383.

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