A study from Oxford University’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has examined whether people remember where they get their news, a key question at a time when social media has totally changed the distribution of news.
Researchers Antonis Kalogeropoulos, Richard Fletcher and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen aimed to understand if people remembered the name of the news outlet responsible for a report they found through either search or social media. The paper, News brand attribution in distributed environments: Do people know where they get their news?, surveyed 6,811 UK-based adults who agreed to install tracking software on their computers. Participants were then surveyed 10 to 48 hours after consuming a story.
“We know that people use news branding (among other things) to assign trust to particular news stories,” the authors wrote. “It seems entirely plausible that if the link between the brand and the user is weakened, people’s overall level of trust in the news might begin to fall.”
Results in brief
- People who went directly to a news website to read an article remembered the name of the outlet 81% of the time.
- Those who found a news article through a search engine remembered the name of the outlet just 37% of the time.
- Participants who found news through social media platforms recalled the name of the news organisation 47% of the time.
The paper also found that younger readers were more likely to remember news brands behind stories they read if they found them directly or discovered them through social. Similarly, participants with higher levels of education were more likely to remember the outlets responsible for stories they surfaced through search.
Sourced from SAGE Journals; additional content by WARC staff