Newspapers are Africa’s ’most trusted’ source of news

Posted on July 26, 2015 09:37 pm

Good news for print media companies in the Africa, where business people still consider newspapers the most reliable source of news and information, beating out web-based media and television, according to a new study.The study, conducted by an independent public relations firm, shows 53 percent of business leaders in the Africa read newspapers to get reliable information.Newspapers were also cited as the most reliable source of information in the 2013 study, but with only 46 percent of executives citing papers as their first choice for information.The regional survey examined the opinions of 1,700 business stakeholders in 12 countries and territories in Africa.These were South Africa,Nigeria, Morocco, Kenya, Uganda,Tanzania, Ghana, Egypt, Zambia, Algeria, Sudan and Tunisia.Though newspapers remained the most trusted source of information,the study suggested that media companies should look into publications on the internet, with web-based media overtaking radio as the second most trusted source of news and information.Thirty-eight percent of business executives go online to get reliable information, while only 18 percent watch television.The strength and influence of the web increased in 2014 due to a trend in the broadcasting industry that has seen news programs being mixed up with entertainment programs, leading people to question their reliability.Discussing Africa,more business leaders turned first to newspapers for their information.

Over the last five years the continent has also seen a significant decrease in the role of TV as a source of reliable information, and a concomitant increase in the use of internet-based media as a source of trustworthy information.With the increasing access to the internet, the web is no longer an alternative to mainstream media, it is the mainstream media.An insider at the PR company who shared with me the figures suggested that newspapers in Africa establish or strengthen the online versions of their printed products, if they hoped to thrive. I believe that with the cost of smartphones going down, resulting in a higher smartphone penetration, this will provide the public greater convenience to access news on the internet, and web-based media is the future.Nine out of ten business executives spend at least some time each week reading web sites.The report also suggest businesses should take advantage of the internet by providing online services such as bulletin boards and discussion boards for customers, to allow them to get in touch with the company and get information on the company’s latest products.Experts within the PR company believe the massive shift in media selection to web-based news sources, to a company’s own website and to employees of the company underscores a broader trend in the democratization of media and information.In today’s Africa, consumers are increasingly skeptical and discerning,not to mention, they want to talk back to the companies who make the products, not simply consume them.

Contador Harrison