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Monday, May 23, 2011

Poll Position: And the most reputable news source is...

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Yes, this post is late. By about a week, and then some. Polls being polls, though, Walski had to announce this formally.

There were a total of 16 news outlet choices given in the poll, and only 8 received your votes. The ones that weren’t chosen – at all – were Harian Metro, Kosmo, The Malay Mail, MStar, The New Straits Times, Sin Chew Jit Poh, Tamil Nesan, and (surprise, surprise) TV3.

Well okay, Walski’s being a tad sarcastic here – TV3 is regarded by some as the electronic equivalent to Utusan, which got 0.84% of the votes.

But congratulations are definitely in order for The Malaysian Insider, voted the most credible and trustworthy local news source.
(some thoughts on the results, and more, in the full post)

The Malaysian Insider logo, image hosting by Photobucket Once again, Walski suspects that those who bothered to vote, maybe save for the couple who voted one each for Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia, are from the usual demographic – either regular readers of this blog, or like-minded folks from Twitter.

Which is okay, one supposes, but Walski would have liked it to be more representative. But if his guess is right, those who bothered to cast their opinion would have come from the more urban living environs.

This is reflected by the fact that the majority of you who participated chose online-only news sources over print – almost 75% of the votes going for The Malaysian Insider and Malaysiakini, one of the pioneers in Malaysian online news. Of the remainder, another emerging online news portal, Free Malaysia Today, got about 6.5%.

The demographic assignment is purely Walski’s guesstimation, and there’s no real way to know whether the three-quarters were from the urban or non-urban areas.

But what is rather telling is how badly the traditionally print-based media fared – a total of only about 15% voted for Berita Harian, The Star, The Sun, and Utusan Malaysia combined. Not one single vote was cast for the other print-based news sources. And of these, The Sun emerged as the most trusted newspaper (9.76%).

On a slightly humorous aside, 2 persons voted for the BBC and New York Times – how these are “local” Malaysian news sources is anybody’s guess, but it does go to show that the foreign press sometimes holds more credibility compared to Malaysian news sources. Apart, of course, from ‘coffee shop talk’ which made up the remaining “Other” demographic.

The fact that someone suggested ‘coffee shop talk’ as a news source does bring up an interesting point – how many Malaysians prefer to believe unofficial news as opposed to what news they get from ‘official’ channels. This probably has something to do with the perception that since most of the mainstream media outlets are owned by BN-affiliated entities, the news they get isn’t the real deal. Particularly when it comes to news related to politics.

While these straw polls may not accurately reflect public opinion, for reasons Walski stated earlier, the findings can be interesting and thought-provoking. Like the level of trust the mainstream press & electronic media have with Malaysians.

And that is good enough reason for Walski to continue with these polls.