The shrug problem

The Readership Institute at Northwestern has some sobering stats on reader involvement in local news web sites:

I don’t think it’s realistic to expect frequent and intense use of a newspaper’s main site by a large proportion of the population. There are too many other goodies on the Web. There are many other sites that “own” categories like national and international news, sports and business, lifestyle or entertainment. A significant proportion of locals don’t care much about local news, at least not enough to seek out regular doses of it.

But 62 percent of respondents said they had never visited the local newspaper’s Website, and only 14 percent said they had visited between the last seven to 30 days, numbers that have improved only a little over the last five years. The Site Usage Measurement (SUM) score for the general population is a feeble 1.26 on a 1-7 scale.