The explosion of free news sources on the Internet is undermining traditional TV, radio and print media. Witness this year the near bankruptcy of Canwest, the nation’s largest media conglomerate. Yet a recent survey of residents in the Clayoquot Sound-Pacific Rim region suggests a huge appetite for local news from community radio stations and community newspapers.

According to the Clayoquot Community Survey, conducted by McAllister Opinion Research and commissioned by Ecotrust Canada, local news sources are wildly popular among residents. The Westerly News is a staple for 62 percent of local residents. The next most popular news source is the Westcoaster.ca, an online publication. Ha-Shilth-Sa, a native-owned newspaper, is the most popular newspaper among First Nations. It is read by 75 percent of the region’s Aboriginal population.

Ahousat is the only community whose second most popular newspaper is not local: 57 percent of Ahousat residents read The Province. Overall, the Victoria Times-Colonist and The Province are regularly read by 23 percent of Clayoquot residents followed by The Globe and Mail (19 percent). The Vancouver Sun is fourth place at a mere 14 percent.

The random sample survey of 303 residents has a margin of error of 5.1 percent, 19 times out of 20. Interviews were conducted with residents in Tofino, Ucluelet, Ahousat, Itatsoo, Hot Springs Cove, Esowista and Opitsat. The survey was conducted between December 2008 and March 2009.

Ecotrust Canada has been releasing results of the survey, which focuses on the region’s sustainability and liveability, in a ten-part series of articles and blog postings over the past several weeks. Ecotrust Canada’s purpose is to build the conservation economy in BC’s coastal bioregion. The organization has offices in Tofino and Vancouver, and has been working in Clayoquot Sound for more than a decade.

The Clayoqout Community Survey also found a similar pattern with local radio stations, which are relatively new to the area. Fifty-one percent of Tofino residents and 47 percent of Ahousat residents regularly listen to The Bear – 90.1 FM, a local station. About 47 percent of Ucluelet residents listen to their local station, The Edge 99.5 FM.

Despite the popularity of local stations, CBC Radio is still king on the coast. Overall, the public broadcaster is the most popular radio station among Clayoqout residents. However, despite having a good reputation for covering native issues, a shockingly low number of First Nations listen to CBC Radio. Only seven percent do so on a regular basis compared to 57 percent of non-native residents.

Most music and news radio stations based in the Lower Mainland are listen to by less than ten percent of Clayoquot residents.

The most popular television news channels among respondents are Global News (40 percent), CBC News (38 percent) and CHEK (36 percent). However, as with radio, CBC isn’t as popular with First Nations. Only 23 percent of First Nations regularly watch CBC News compared to 55 percent for Global News and 50 percent for CHEK.

Ecotrust Canada commissioned the Clayoquot Community Survey to gain a richer understanding of the concerns and issues of local communities regarding the region’s sustainable development. Next week, Ecotrust Canada will be releasing the final results of the survey which focuses on Internet use and membership in online social networks like Facebook among Clayoquot residents.

 

Clayoquot Community Survey
Ecotrust Canada commissioned McAllister Opinion Research to conduct a survey of Clayoquot Sound-Pacific Rim residents in late 2008/early 2009. The main purpose of the research is to gain a richer understanding of local communities to better inform our efforts and outreach in the region. The random sample survey of 303  residents has a margin of error of ±5.1%, 19 times out of 20.  Click here to read about the survey’s methodology.

 

Survey Contents
Click the links to read other details and results.