Newspaper Readership: Further Investigation on Questionnaire Wording Related to Internet-published Newspapers and its Impact on Newspaper Audience Estimates

Traditional newspaper audience measurement (in the United States) asks respondents to report whether they “read or looked into� a specific list of printed newspapers. The emergence and popularity of newspaper websites holds the potential to cloud the answer to this question for some respondents. When reporting their newspaper reading habits, some respondents might not be sure whether to include their on-line reading of the newspaper website, as well as their reading of the printed version of the paper. The issue of respondent confusion over printed (hard-copy) and Internet versions of newspapers is a complex one that concerns the media research industry. The genesis of this line of research was based on concerns about respondent confusion of Internet and printed newspapers that were expressed by newspaper industry leaders, and further discussed by the technical committee of the ABC Readership Profile service. The ABC Readership Profile service, begun in 2002, publishes a set of research guidelines for newspaper audience measurement. To help answer the questions raised about respondent confusion between print and online newspapers, and its potential impact on audience measurement, Scarborough Research volunteered to conduct experimental design based research.

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