Friday 08 Oct 2021 | 08:45 | SYDNEY
Friday 08 Oct 2021 | 08:45 | SYDNEY

Lowy Poll: Australians and new media


Fergus Hanson


13 October 2009 12:36

The 2009 Lowy Institute Poll was launched today. It's the fifth annual Lowy Poll, which surveys a nationally representative sample of Australians about international issues. There is a lot in this year's poll, from climate change to Afghanistan to China and the US. One area that might get missed though is a new question we included this year on what sources people use to get their international news.

When I was in North America earlier in the year it was fascinating to hear commentators frequently cite blog posts in public debates. The Interpreter was launched in 2007 partly in recognition of the fact that, in other parts of the world, people are increasingly using blogs as an integral part of their daily news diet.

The question we asked on media sources was designed to track the habits of Australians when it comes to international news. We chose six different media and asked Australians whether they used the source 'often, sometimes or never to get international news'.

The results show Australians still aren't big uses of online sources for their international news. Of the sources used 'often', online newspapers were used by 28% of Australians and other online sources, including blogs, by just 15%. The most popular was free to air TV — which 71% of Australians use to get international news. The next most popular were radio (50%) and printed newspapers (49%). 

As you might expect, for most media, age was an important factor influencing use. Sixty-seven per cent of Australians 60 or older used printed newspapers 'often' to get international news, compared with 36% of 18 to 29 year olds, and for online newspapers the difference was 12% and 53% for the respective age groups. Other online sources, including blogs, were used 'often' by 31% of 18 to 29 year olds compared with just 6% of those 60 or older.
Australians from an overseas non-English speaking background were more likely to use other online sources, including blogs, 'often' to get international news than Australians born here or from an overseas English-speaking background. Twenty-seven per cent of overseas-born Australians from non-English speaking backgrounds used other online sources, including blogs, 'often' compared with 14% of Australians born here and 13% of overseas-born Australians from an English-speaking background.