America’s IT Decision Makers Far More Attentive to News than General Population

    New York, N.Y. – September 10, 2013 – Every profession has its share of stereotypes to contend with, from the image of the dishonest car salesman to that of the corrupt politicians. For those in information technology, like other technological fields, there is sometimes a perception of existing in something of a high-tech echo chamber, cut off from the world at large. However, findings from Harris Interactive’s new Harris Poll® ITDMQuery – a national omnibus survey of IT professionals – suggest that IT decision makers may be paying much more attention to what’s happening in the world than the general population of U.S. adults.

    These are among the findings of a Harris Poll of 299 full-time U.S. IT decision makers interviewed online August 7-13 and 2,286 U.S. adults, ages 18 and older, interviewed online August 14-19 Harris Interactive. The IT decision makers portion of the study utilized the ITDMQuery platform.

    News interest

    With over a third (36%) of ITDMs describing themselves as news junkies, this group is nearly three times as likely as the general population (13%) to display this level of interest in the news. In contrast, general U.S. adults are roughly three times as likely as ITDMs to indicate that they are not really interested in the news (14% and 5%, respectively). The remaining 59% of ITDMs and 73% of U.S. adults say they like to keep up with the news, but it’s just one of many ways they spend their leisure time.

    Modes of choice

    All talk of shattering stereotypes aside, it may not come as a surprise that ITDMs are much more likely than U.S. adults overall to list some sort of online source as their preferred way to get news (65% and 38%, respectively). More specifically, nearly half of ITDMs (45%) prefer to get their news online, on a computer (vs. 27% of U.S. adults), 12% look to a tablet computer (vs. 5% among the general population) and roughly one in ten (9%) reach into their pocket to use their mobile device (vs. 6% of Americans overall).

    On the other hand, ITDMs are only half as likely as U.S. adults to identify television as their preferred way of getting news (24% ITDMs, 50% U.S. adults). Roughly one in ten from each group selects print as their preferred news mode (9% ITDMs, 10% U.S. adults).

    Skimming the surface or diving deep?

    The level of attention paid when reading news (either online or in print) shows less divergence between ITDMs and Americans overall, with both groups showing roughly the same likelihood to indicate that they:

    • normally read just the headlines (4% ITDMs, 7% U.S. adults).
    • normally read just the headlines, but maybe one or two stories in full (32% and 34%, respectively).
    • normally will read the headlines and a few sentences into most stories (18% and 17%, respectively).
    • skim the full article (25% and 26%, respectively).

    However, when looking at the deepest level of focus, ITDMs (21%) are more likely than U.S. adults (15%) to indicate reading every word in the article.

    Eye openers

    But before you can expect someone to read any, let alone all, of an article, you need to reel them in. So, how do IT decision makers compare to the general population in terms of factors making them more likely to read an online or print article?

    As it turns out, ITDMs are consistently more likely than the general population to indicate that each of a series of potential draws makes them more likely to read an online or print article. Majorities of both groups are driven by a catchy headline (59% ITDMs, 53% U.S. adults), but ITDMs are driven much more strongly than their general population counterparts by the inclusion of interesting data or research which supports the article (59% ITDMs, 41% U.S. adults). ITDMs are also more likely to be drawn in by an interesting picture with the article (55% ITDMs, 38% U.S. adults) and an interesting infographic (48% and 26%, respectively).

    • While only two in ten ITDMs identify the author as a factor making them more likely to read an online or print article, it is worth noting that authorship is twice as likely to represent a draw among ITDMs (20%) as among U.S. adults overall (9%).

    Response to research in reporting

    When presented with a list of statements regarding research in news, ITDMs are slightly to moderately more likely than Americans overall to agree with most of those statements:

    • I am more likely to trust an online or print article if there is research in it which supports the story (91% ITDMs, 84% U.S. adults).
    • When reading articles which cite research statistics, the person or company who conducted the research is important to consider (89% ITDMs, 84% U.S. adults).
    • I prefer to read articles that include research results (88% ITDMs, 78% U.S. adults).
    • I enjoy seeing news articles which include what people like me think about something (81% ITDMs, 76% U.S. adults).

    There are two exceptions to this overall trend, though:

    • On the one hand, ITDMs show a much stronger likelihood to agree that their purchase decisions are often influenced by research conducted about a product or service (84% ITDMs, 65% U.S. adults).
    • Looking to the other extreme, the groups are identical in their agreement that research needs to be conducted by a credible organization in order for Americans to trust it, with nine in ten agreeing from each group (89%).

    For more information regarding Harris Poll ITDMQuery, please contact [email protected].

    To view the full findings, or to see other recent Harris Polls, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.

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    TABLE 1

    NEWS INTEREST

    Which of these statements best describes you?

    Base: All adults

    U.S. Adults

    ITDMs

    %

    %

    I am a news junkie; it’s a favorite leisure time activity

    13

    36

    I like to keep up with the news, but it’s just one of many ways that I spend my leisure time

    73

    59

    I am not really interested in the news; there are other ways that I prefer to spend my leisure time

    14

    5

    Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 2

    PREFERRED NEWS MODE

    While you may get your news in multiple ways, which one is your preferred way to get the news?

    Base: All adults

    U.S. Adults

    ITDMs

    %

    %

    Online [NET]

    38

    65

    Online – on computer

    27

    45

    Online – tablet

    5

    12

    Online – mobile device

    6

    9

    TV

    50

    24

    Print

    10

    9

    Some other way

    2

    2

    Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

    signifies less than 0.5%


    TABLE 3

    LEVEL OF ATTENTION WHEN READING NEWS

    Which of the following best describes how you typically read the news – either online or in print?

    Base: All adults

    U.S. Adults

    ITDMs

    %

    %

    I normally read just the headlines

    7

    4

    I normally just read the headlines, but maybe one or two stories in full

    34

    32

    I normally will read the headlines and a few sentences into most stories

    17

    18

    I skim the full article

    26

    25

    I read every word in the article

    15

    21

    Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 4

    TOP ENTICEMENTS FOR READING AN ARTICLE

    Which of the following makes you more likely to read an online or print article?

    Base: All adults

    U.S. Adults

    ITDMs

    %

    %

    A catchy headline

    53

    59

    Interesting data or research which supports the article

    41

    59

    An interesting picture with the article

    38

    55

    An interesting infographic (e.g. visual representation of information, data or knowledge)

    26

    48

    Who the author is

    9

    20

    Something else

    12

    12

    None of these

    9

    3

    Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 5

    INTEREST IN RESEARCH-BASED NEWS

    How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

    Summary of Strongly agree + Somewhat agree

    Base: All adults

     

    U.S. Adults

    ITDMs

    %

    %

    I am more likely to trust an online or print article if there is research in it which supports the story

    84

    91

    Research needs to be conducted by a credible organization in order for Americans to trust it

    89

    89

    When reading articles which cite research statistics, the person or company who conducted the research is important to consider

    84

    89

    I prefer to read articles that include research results

    78

    88

    My purchase decisions are often influenced by research conducted about a product or service

    65

    84

    I enjoy seeing news articles which include what people like me think about something

    76

    81

    Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

     

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between August 14 and 19, 2013 among 2,286 adults (aged 18 and over) and between August 7 and 13, 2013 among 299 full-time IT decision makers (ages 18 and older, work for a company with 20+ employees). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

    All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

    Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

    These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

    The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

    The Harris Poll® #62, September 10, 2013

    By: Larry Shannon-Missal, Harris Poll Research Manager

    About Harris Interactive

    Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client’s research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.