the present

Some of the top reasons cited for reading an online newspaper were "to be better informed," 24-hour access and to save time, according to a study.
Local news
proves a hit

Local stories are the most popular element on newspaper web sites, study shows.

The need
to know

Study shows that wanting to be informed is top reason for visiting online newspapers.

the stories
Local News is the Answer

Local news is the most popular element of online newspapers but most sites do a poor job of providing it, according to a 1999 poll by Editor & Publisher.

The study, conducted from February to June of that year, polled 53,000 Internet users from 75 newspaper sites of varying sizes. Eighty-two percent of them log on to check newspaper Web sites. Of those surveyed, 72 percent go to web pages for local news while 40 percent go for weather, 39 percent for national news and 38 percent for classifieds. At newspapers with a circulation 250,000 and less, 83 percent of users go to local stories.

Why do consumers read news sites?

Being informed is the No. 1 reason consumers go to news sites, according to newspaper consultant Tracey Bernadette.

Tracey, who has been a consultant for nearly two decades, is president of NetSmart, a company with a clients that include the Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, CNN and America Online.

In her 1998 study of 1,000 consumers, 72 percent of the respondents said they visited newspaper web sites and 44 percent go there regularly. When asked why they access the online newspaper, 92 percent said to "feel better informed" followed by a close second of having "24-hour news access" (91 percent).

Eighty-nine percent said to save time, 89 percent also said to get breaking news and 82 percent said to get wider in-depth coverage.

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