More on Coupons and Credibility

So the people behind the media usage and credibility survey we mentioned earlier today were kind enough to write back to clarify the definition of the “free shopper newspaper” category that they reported has seen an increase in the number of people who find it a credible source of news.

Indeed, the definition meant what we thought it meant but hoped it didn’t - those penny-saver papers that advertise Franklin mint coins and coupons for power-washer rentals. You know, the ones that are direct-mailed or distributed in grocery store racks near the shopping carts.

The wording of the category was intentionally left very broad so that respondents could include the various forms of “penny-savers” as they’re called in some parts of the country, and “free shopper” newspapers elsewhere, the survey-takers said. Why “free shopper newspapers” were even a choice offered in parallel with television, daily newspaper, online and radio news sources is still a mystery. More baffling still is why people would find Clip ‘N Saves any more credible from one year to the next. But I digress.

In fairness, it was an enlightening survey and the penny-saver angle is a bit of a distraction. Interestingly, one finding showed that college grads are more likely than the general population to trust online news.

But the real takeaway might be that in an age of media cynicism, no forms of media experienced a decline in perceived credibility and, in fact, most experienced a bump in trustworthiness. So cheers all around, media! News consumers don’t hate us any more than they did last year!

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Alexandra Fenwick is an assistant editor at CJR.