Broadcasting Board of Governors Data: Topics and Sources of News Media

Tuesday 27th December 2011 | Author: SankalpaD

By Audrey Ariss; Master’s student in Columbia University’s Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences program.

Using the data collected by the Broadcasting Board of Governors and shared with the Columbia University team by Internews, I looked at various sources of information that people get their news from. The results showed that respondents in forty countries share their news preferences.

I also looked at the topics in which the respondents of the survey showed most interest in. Unsurprisingly, people across all countries are most interested in news about their own country: 54 per cent of people surveyed indicated they are very interested in national news, and a further 34 per cent are somewhat interested. Only 3 per cent of respondents answered that they are not interested at all. Below is a chart that reveals the topics people are ‘very interested’ in.

Figure 1: Topics respondents are very interested in.

The most popular topics of interest beside national (or regional) news are health and healthcare and religion. The surveys revealed 51 per cent to be very interested in health and healthcare. Half of all respondents are very interested in the topic of religion. The trend is similar when those that are ‘somewhat’ interested in news about certain topics are taken into account. Eighty per cent of all respondents are interested (or more than ‘not very’ interested) in religious news.

The topics which then generated the most interested, with 50-75 per cent of people demonstrating some or much interest in news are, ordered in amount of interest, news about neighbouring countries; human rights; culture, cinema & literature; sports; and the environment. The figure for the environment is partly so high due to China’s interest. In China, 79 per cent of respondents are interested in news about the environment. This is more than ten per cent higher a figure than the average interest in the environment across all countries asked this question (68 per cent). The chart below shows the overall trend in interest among the topics asked to the majority of the countries in the sample; the blue part shows the percentage of people that are very interested in the topic, and the red the percentage of people that are somewhat interested. Each bar shows the percentage of people that have actively demonstrated interest in news on the specified topic (ie. they did not respond ‘not really’ or ‘not at all’ interested).

Figure 2: Percentage of interest in news, by topic.

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