Survey: Amid COVID-19 misinformation, Floridians still turn to newspapers for accurate info

newspaper 05-17
"When confusion spreads, people know they can turn to newspapers for dependable, accurate information."

With a desire for accuracy amid a barrage of COVID-19 misinformation, a majority of Florida news consumers turn to the traditional trusted source of reliable information: newspapers, particularly the online content.

A newly released survey shows that four in five Floridians say they get “some” or “a lot” of their coronavirus information from newspapers or their online editions.

More than half of those surveyed (53%) said they get COVID-19 information from newspapers’ online editions; another one-quarter indicated they get pandemic news from a combination of newspapers’ web and print editions.

Even in a fiscally challenging era for the newspaper industry, newspapers remain a trusted staple of American society, dating back to before the nation was founded.

Jim Fogler

“These findings reinforce what we have long suspected: When confusion spreads, people know they can turn to newspapers for dependable, accurate information that cuts through the noise,” said Jim Fogler, president and CEO of the Florida Press Association. “Newspapers provide the most in-depth and thoughtful coverage on important issues of the day, and right now the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates anew the relevance and resonance of local newspapers.”

The survey, conducted August 20-22 by Sachs Media’s Breakthrough Research division, asked 1,000 registered Florida voters about their information sources on COVID-19.

Key findings of the survey, with a 3.3% margin of error, include:

— Four out of five Floridians (80%) said they get “some” or “a lot” of COVID-19 news content through newspapers — 53% from newspaper websites, 24% from a combination of print newspapers and their online sites, and 3% from print editions only. Just 20% of respondents chose neither print nor online newspapers as their information source.

— Responses to this question were largely consistent across party, gender, and age groups, with the exception that 65% of younger voters ages 18-34 engage only with newspapers’ online material and none in that group exclusively read print editions for COVID-19 news.

“Technology continues to change the world, especially in how we communicate — but when people need information they can count on, they still turn to newspapers,” Fogler said.

Staff Reports



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