What do our customers think?


This interview is part of a series of conversations with news consumers. All of the interviews are compiled here. Want to be interviewed? Sign up here. Have a question to suggest that I should be asking the interviewees? Tweet me. Have comments or questions for me or anyone I’ve talked to? Leave them in the comment section (duh :-))

Today’s incredibly insightful news consumer is Joseph Hunter. Joseph is a married, African-American man of 27 years old. He lives with his wife and baby daughter in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines. He works at Northwestern University as a Program Assistant in the Graduate Housing Office. His annual income is roughly 35k. 

Ready for the question round? Here we go.

How have your news consumption habits changed over the years or have they stayed about the same?

My news consumption habits over the years have stayed largely the same for a little longer than a decade. In 2000, after I heard an NPR political analyst say that he didn’t know anyone who was going to vote for George W. Bush–and after the election ended in a 50-50 split–I decided that it was time I diversified my news consumption. I turned to radio and newspapers exclusively and left television out. I haven’t returned to television media yet, and have, in fact, eliminated all television consumption. I balanced my radio news consumption to include NPR and conservative talk radio. The only change in my consumption has been my increased reliance on receiving my news via the internet. Whereas I only consumed Chicago papers, I now have access to local papers throughout the country and to the New York Times.

Where do you usually get your news from on a daily basis? Specify print, online or otherwise for each source you list.

On a daily basis, I get most of my news via the internet generally, from think tanks, specifically from The Cato Institute, The Heritage Foundation, The Center for American Progress and Brookings Institution. I also have a well organized Google Reader that I occasionally check. It retrieves news from the NYT, Chicago Trib & Sun Times, LATimes, Wall Street Journal, National Review, The Manhattan Institute, Judicial Watch, The Journal of Foreign Affairs, The Washington Post, and World Magazine Online.

I also consume news daily via radio, namely from WBBM 780 AM, WLS 890 AM, WBEZ 91.5 FM, WIND 560 AM, and WGN 720 AM.  

What are the things you are most interested in reading about? Are those needs being met by what’s available to you?

I am primarily interested in policy debates, so I generally do not get what I’m looking for via the radio with the exception of some shows on WBEZ and the Michael Medved Show on WIND. As far as the internet is concerned, I have much more control over finding exactly what I’m looking for.

What is your number one complaint about the news media? This can be general or really specific.

My general complaint about the news media is that the format understandably favors people who are too busy to consume complex stories or issues. Whereas most people may be interested in the headlines, I am interested in the fine details of issues and in ways to best understand the nuances of issues. I don’t say this to be self-aggrandizing, it’s just that my interest is public policy. Instead of news agencies copying one another, it may be better for one to focus on more in depth analysis (I recognize, however, that media is a business and this may not be a sound business model for a media organization. In light of all of the options Americans have in tailoring news that fits their individual need, I do not resent the corporate aspect of media organizations).

[Joseph is not the first to have noted news organizations copying each other. I fully agree.]

Do you currently pay for any news content online? If yes, describe what type of content it is. If no, would you be willing to pay any amount for news content online?

Currently, I do not pay for online news content. I also would not be willing to pay for online news because the internet makes it so that anything people pay for can be acquired for free [italics mine]. Sometimes, I come across Wall Street Journal articles that are incomplete and require a subscription to view. With a small amount of dedication, I find the article in its entirety in no time.

Other than the Chicago Tribune or the Sun-Times News Group’s publications, what other print producers of news can you name in the Chicagoland area? What online ones can you name? (this can include blogs, news aggregators, etc).

As far as Chicago area media sources [other than the ones already mentioned], I’m aware of the Chicago Defender, Backyard Conservative, Illinois Review, and of course, WINDY CITIZEN :-) [I’m sure I speak for everyone involved in Windy Citizen when I say thank you for the enthusiasm and the use of CAPS Joseph :-)]

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