November 2009 - Online Media Usage

The November survey featured a series of questions that polled respondents about their media use; specifically, how they find information online as it relates to news, culture or other topics. Respondents were also asked to modify the current topic list featured online, derived from previous Listening Project research.

Below are the eight questions from the November survey, and selected responses. There were 248 people who participated in November’s questionnaire.

The first set of questions in the November Listening Project survey presented a series of scenarios to participants and asked for their preferred method of obtaining information.

Question #1 
It’s lunchtime, and you’re at work. Someone nearby mentions there was a fire at a building in the area. To find out about the fire, would you most likely:

November Question 1

The option most selected was to go online to a local news site for information regarding the building fire. The remaining responses were split between the other options, with getting updates via a mobile device, coming in last at less than 2%.

Some of the open-ended response listed for the “Take another action not listed here” category saw participants blending options:

“Turn on the radio and talk to other people.” 
“Find a TV and also turn on a radio.” 
“Turn on a radio; browse a local news site; and talk to other people.”

Other respondents didn’t mind waiting until later for the information:

“Watch for an article in the newspaper the next day.” 
“Wait until drive home. Turn on WCPN.” 
“I would likely wait until the end of the day - at home - and perhaps browse online. WCPN is on all day for me. If it’s reported, I’ll take note; if not, I will not search for information until at the computer at night.” 
“Unless it is my building on fire, I’ll wait and read about it in the newspaper tomorrow.”

If the respondent chose the “go online” option, a follow-up question was asked: “What site(s) would you visit?” From the total replies, only 9% said they’d visit an ideastream site (and if mentioned, the site was always A majority of responses included local news sites, like,, or

Question #2 
It’s election night, and the polls have closed two hours ago. You want to find out the results of a statewide political issue. Would you most likely:

November Question 2

Just over half the respondents chose to watch a local television news broadcast to find out the results, followed by a third going online for the same information.

Several respondents mentioned visiting the Board of Elections web site in the “Take another action not listed here” category. Others didn’t mind waiting until morning to read about the results in the newspaper.

If respondents chose to go online, they were asked to list the site(s) they would visit as a follow-up. Mention of visiting ideastream sites (, and, along with using NPR online, was mentioned in 23% of the responses. Other local news sites, like those listed for question #1, were again mentioned as potential resources.

Question #3 
It’s Saturday afternoon, and you’re looking for something to do tonight (like have dinner, see a movie, or attend an event). Would you most likely:

November Question 3

Less than 9% of respondents said they would use radio and/or television to help them decide what to do on a Saturday evening. Instead, they browse online (31%), get recommendations from people they know (20%), or, as found by the response to the “Take another action not listed here” category, use a local newspaper or The Plain Dealer’s “Friday” section.

If respondents chose to go online, they were asked to list the site(s) they would visit as a follow-up. Only 5% mentioned they’d visit an ideastream site; the majority replied using, but others mentioned going to local theater sites for movie times and also using for information.

The next set of questions in the November survey focused on participants’ use of the ideastream sites, and some of the material available to them through the sites.

When the ideastream web sites were re-launched in April, 2008, they featured a new way of navigating content via topic. The topics listed on the sites were derived from previous Listening Project research, based specifically on the growing list of assets and challenges. Feature stories, show episodes and promotional material were labeled with the appropriate topic area, linking visitors to a series of topic-based pages that culled together content from radio, television and online sources.

Question #4 
The ideastream web sites feature topic-based navigation and sections, with each topic determined from the assets and challenges of previous Listening Project survey response. Do you use the available topic-based content?

November Question 4

From the response to this question, it’s clear that this new way of navigating the ideastream sites is not being used, primarily because users are unaware of its existence. 

Here is a sampling of the open-ended response to this question:

“Don’t have any idea what this means. You are so hooked on electronic media but some of us STILL READ and look it up in the local newspaper including Siera, Sunpapers etc…”

“I hadn’t really thought about ideastream for local NEWS content - but definitely will in the future.”

“Not been on the site for a while - don’t remember. Love your programs, but only have time to listen on the web.”

“Our ONLY source of media content are NPR and PBS. Who needs anything else?”

“I tend to forget to check the multitude of web sites to which media refer me.”

“I don’t usually BROWSE - usually use websites when I have a question.”

“Usually when I use the website, I go directly to the specific show I heard something on - and go from there. I will investigate it further! Are is there reviews of restaurants and movies? I would use that.”

“I still probably won’t use it much...I mostly listen to or watch specific shows when I’m available at that time, not for specific content.”

Question #5 
The topics derived from previous Listening Project survey response about assets and challenges include “Arts and Culture,” “Economy and Jobs,” “Education,” “Environment,” “Health” and “Politics.” Would you change anything about the list of regional assets and challenges, and if so, what would those changes be?

Here are some of the responses to this multi-layered question:

I would add the following regional assets: 
• Sports 
• Nature 
• Local Neighborhoods 
• Science 
• Diversity 
• Family 
• Local Food

I would add the following regional challenges: 
• Regional Government 
• Lack of Industry 
• Transportation

Response varied greatly for the last two selections, “I would place less emphasis on the following regional assets” and “I would place less emphasis on the following regional challenges.” All six of the main topics were listed at least once for each.

Question #6 
You’re listening to Around Noon on WCPN, and Dee Perry mentions there’s more information available on WCPN’s web site, Do you:

November Question 6

Here are some selected responses from the “Take another action not listed here” category:

“We would take no action unless the topic was of immediate interest to us, or relevant in some way. We don’t tend to run to web sites unless we have an immediate need to find something.”

“I love to listen to Dee, but for some reason I have never visited”

“It really depends whether this topic is of interest to me. Often I am in the car and can’t really take action, then forget about it.”

“Most of what she talks about I already know about from the publicity of the groups she mentions. I appreciate the additional layer of her coverage, but if it’s close enough to the performance date that they are on Dee’s show, I already am informed.”

“Take no action; usually forget but “intend” to look up on”

Question #7 
You’re watching Feagler & Friends on WVIZ, and Dick Feagler mentions there’s a link to a county proposal on the Feagler & Friends web site, on Do you:

November Question 7

Here are some selected responses from the “Take another action not listed here” category:

“Look it up at the library!”

“When I’m off work, I don’t like turning the computer back on unless I am intensely involved with the topic.”

“I generally only look at the state or county board of elections page to read the actual text of the proposal without spin.” 

Question #8 
What services would you find useful that ideastream’s web sites (,, and could offer you that they currently don’t?

Several users were not aware of the material available on ideastream’s web sites:

“Don’t know enough about site to comment.” 
“I was not aware that your website included so many topics.” 
“I’m not that familiar and don’t visit it often.” 
“I have not been there to know what they already have.” 
“Don’t use them. No time.” 
“Heavens! There is so much available, anything can be discovered with patience.”

Others had specific requests, including more program information, more podcasts and streaming audio, and movie & restaurant reviews.

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