Newspaper readers ‘don’t care about columnists’

Newspaper columnists have far less of an impact on the public then they may like to think, research revealed at today’s Walkley Media Conference suggests.

Word_cloud_columnists walkley mumbrellaMedia Alliance boss Chris Warren revealed details of a survey of 1000 members of the public.

One of the questions they were asked about was journalists they remembered. After showing a slide with News Ltd columnist Andrew Bolt’s name as the one most mentioned, Warren turned to the slide pictured above, adding: “When you include the number of people who simply don’t care about who wrote a story, you get a completely different picture.”

Asked whether they would be willing to pay for news, 91% said no, and just 3% replied yes, said Warren.

Meanwhile, a survey of journalists suggested that despite worries over the future of newspapers, optimism for journalism remains. Asked how they felt about the future of journalism, 9% said they felt very positive while a further 43% said they felt positive. A total of 24% said neither, while 20% said negative and just 3% very negative.

Additionally, 48% said they felt positive about their career prospects while only 21% said they felt negative.

But most journalists agreed that they were working harder:

  • Increased a lot 43%
  • Increased a little – 30%
  • Much the same – 19%
  • Decreased a little – 4%
  • Decreased a lot – 4%

For that extra work, 58% said they had not been rewarded for it, 11% said they had been paid more and 31% said they had been given time off in lieu.


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