Results of ProPublica’s 2011 Reader Survey
The results of our latest survey of ProPublica readers are in, and we wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about… well, you.
The results of our latest survey of ProPublica readers are in, and we wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about... well, you.
Before we do, a big "thank you" to the 2,583 of you who took the time to respond. The results aren't scientific, but the large sample does likely indicate that they're meaningful.
There's lots of evidence in the survey that the habits of our audience are changing in ways becoming very familiar in the news business. Your primary source of national news is online (68 percent said that, compared to 60 percent in our previous survey in May 2010, and 53 percent in December 2008). Print newspapers, meanwhile, continue to decline as your primary source of national news, to 13 percent this year, from 19 percent last year and 25 percent in 2008. (TV also dropped.) You're a social group: 74 percent regularly use Facebook, 38 percent Twitter, 37 percent Google+ and 34 percent LinkedIn.
And there are lots of different ways you find your way to ProPublica content. The most common way is via our daily email alert (if you're not already signed up, click here), but 22 percent come primarily directly through our website, 10 percent from our Twitter feed, 8 percent through our iPhone, iPad or Android apps, and 5 percent primarily through Facebook. Use of our RSS feeds remains significant as well.
We're most pleased that you seem to like the content wherever you find it: 90 percent approve of the length of our stories, and 79 percent of their frequency. (And 19 percent wish we published more, which certainly beats 2 percent who favor less.) Moreover, the judgment on length of stories is steady compared with 2010 and 2008, while the proportion of readers seeking more stories has grown from 13 percent in 2008 to 16 percent in 2010 to 2011's 19 percent. Our longer features and investigations remain our most regularly read content, with engagement with our long-form stories growing from 79 percent in 2008 to 81 percent in 2010 to 86 percent in 2011. A bit over half of readers continue to look regularly at our shorter pieces and MuckReads selections of investigative journalism by others.
Nearly half of you (49 percent) consider ProPublica non-ideological -- a conclusion we were pleased to see shared by a Pew study earlier this year -- with the rest almost evenly split between moderate (25 percent) and liberal (also 25 percent). Your own views remain solidly liberal (63 percent), with moderate (21 percent) and non-ideological (13 percent) trailing that.
Demographically, you are -- not uncommonly for an online news audience-- more male (62 percent) than female (38 percent). While each of us individually has aged since our last survey, collectively you seem to be getting somewhat younger. The proportion of readers under 35, for instance, grew from 11 percent last year to 15 percent in 2011. You remain a very well educated group: 82 percent have graduated from college, 46 percent have a post-graduate degree. You're not exactly the 1 percent, but you're better off than most. Median household income is just below $75,000, while median household net worth is between $100-500,000, with 28 percent having a net worth above that range.