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NEWS THAT MATTERS An assessment of Chicagos information landscape September 23, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "NEWS THAT MATTERS An assessment of Chicagos information landscape September 23, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 NEWS THAT MATTERS An assessment of Chicagos information landscape September 23, 2010

2 NEWS THAT MATTERS An assessment of Chicagos information landscape Rachel Davis Mersey, Ph.D. Northwestern University Vivian Vahlberg The Chicago Community Trust with Bob LeBailly Northwestern University Funded by The Chicago Community Trust, Knight Foundation, McCormick Foundation and Woods Fund of Chicago

3 NEWS THAT MATTERS Four main objectives To assess the extent to which the critical information needs of citizens in a democracy are being met in the Chicago area To identify critical information gaps and deficiencies that may need to be addressed, particularly assessing how the information landscape varies by race, geography, economic status and other factors To develop a barometer of the areas information health which can be repeated in future years to assess progress To examine how the information needs and experiences of the general public differ from those of community leaders

4 NEWS THAT MATTERS Part One: Assessment of public opinion minute phone interviews Representative sample 720 landline and 80 cell phone interviews Conducted in both English (91%) and Spanish (9%) 3 60-minute focus groups Low-income participants (earnings less than $30,000 annually) 20 participants total

5 NEWS THAT MATTERS Part Two: Parallel study of community leaders Same survey online, plus questions to a diverse group of leaders 250 participants Sampled from nonprofit, business, government, academia, other fields: Trust grant recipients Leadership Greater Chicago fellows Catalyst & Chicago Reporter subscribers Lists of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club, Metropolitan Planning Council, and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning 4 60-minute focus groups 57 participants total Group size: 11 to 16 people

6 NEWS THAT MATTERS Over 900 Media Outlets 48 TV Stations 132 Radio Stations >153 Online Outlets 479 Daily, Weekly & Monthly Print Publications Plus assorted other outlets, networks, channels, syndicates & services Chicagos current information ecosystem

7 NEWS THAT MATTERS Survey Results

8 NEWS THAT MATTERS Most important source for… Chicago area information Job-related information Special interest information Neighborhood information

9 NEWS THAT MATTERS Respondents with Internet access 84% of the public 100% of leaders

10 NEWS THAT MATTERS 87% feel adequately or well informed generally When asked whether they feel pretty well informed about certain topics, many agreed: 79% on issues affecting the Chicago area 78% on their special interests 69% on neighborhood issues 66% on job-related, business or professional issues Most Chicagoans feel informed

11 NEWS THAT MATTERS Respondents able to access the information they need To form opinions about local problems: 84% To cope with emergencies: 83% To learn about practical health concerns: 80% To learn about government programs & services: 70% To find out whats for sale: 67% They get – or can get – needed information

12 NEWS THAT MATTERS Libraries help people find information

13 NEWS THAT MATTERS Despite the positives, there are significant problems in the information ecosystem Inadequate political information Unhappiness with media coverage Difficulty processing & coping with information available Some better served than others Not enough opportunities to hear the views of others

14 NEWS THAT MATTERS Inadequate political information 51% dont know enough about candidates or issues to vote 42% dont know much about the challenges facing the region 48% think local media does not do a good job keeping watch on state and local government

15 NEWS THAT MATTERS Unhappiness with media coverage 49% say that the media does not cover issues I care about very well 43% say that nobody covers what happens in my community very well

16 NEWS THAT MATTERS Difficulty processing and coping with the information available Distressing relationships with news Overwhel -med Do not have enough time Cannot tell what is important

17 NEWS THAT MATTERS Some better served than others The more education and income people have… …the better they can navigate the ecosystem and the happier they are with coverage

18 NEWS THAT MATTERS Groups who navigate the ecosystem and are happy with media coverage College educated North & northwest suburbs Central & north areas of the city Incomes of at least $50,000/year Whites

19 NEWS THAT MATTERS Groups who have the most trouble navigating the ecosystem High school education or less South & west areas of the city Incomes below $30,000/year Latino & African-American Dont speak English at home

20 NEWS THAT MATTERS Those with lower incomes… Dont feel as well informed Have trouble navigating the ecosystem Are unhappy with coverage of their communities Are less civically engaged Are less tech-empowered Rely more on local TV

21 NEWS THAT MATTERS People who are disproportionately having a hard time with the system also…. Dont enjoy keeping up with news Are not civically engaged Rely on neighbors for news, not the media or Internet Are not tech-enabled

22 NEWS THAT MATTERS 64% want more opportunities to learn the views of other people about community issues 70% feel they have plenty of opportunities to make their own views known about community issues Not enough opportunity to hear the views of others

23 NEWS THAT MATTERS A Special Look: Leaders Differ from the public in many ways Get a daily stream of information from many sources Are more critical of the ecosystem Are tech-enabled

24 NEWS THAT MATTERS A Special Look: Information Literacy Leaders are savvier about what information to trust People with Internet literacy training more likely to successfully: Navigate the info ecosystem Get the info they need about issues and problems


26 NEWS THAT MATTERS Our challenges: Inadequate political information Unhappiness with media coverage Many have trouble coping with information Some better served than others Low income people particularly ill-served In summary

27 NEWS THAT MATTERS Our strengths: A wealth of sources, for different purposes Widespread Internet access Most feel informed Most can get the information they need Libraries help Leaders have special sources Information literacy training helps In summary

28 NEWS THAT MATTERS Thank you. Visit for the upcoming report News That Matters: An Assessment of Chicagos Information Landscape from The Chicago Community Trust


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