Bay Area green news – 73% of survey takers say they want it

By Victoria Schlesinger

Way Out West and Spot.Us, the crowd-funding journalism website, recently partnered to survey readers’ interest in Bay Area green news. The results are in and Spot.Us and WOW are sharing them widely.

While the seven-question survey was not of scientific quality, the 164 nationwide respondents offer some insight into Bay Area green news consumers. Some 73% of all survey-takers said they are interested in news about Bay Area environmental issues and show equal curiosity in an array of topics, ranging from climate change and clean technology to nature and policy. Video and slide shows were the most popular news medium, although print was not listed as an option.

The survey partnership allowed WOW to improve our budding venture and for Spot.Us to further experiment with its survey-taking sponsorship model. It also meant $750 went to reporters raising funds to pay for their work. Among other stories, survey takers chose to support a piece on shark finning by Erica Gies and an investigation into saving American Bats by Brandon Keim, now featured on Wired.

The following graphs and analysis are provided by David Cohn at Spot.Us.


  • San Francisco: 20%
  • North Bay: 2%
  • East Bay: 12%
  • Peninsula: less than 1%
  • South Bay: 2%
  • California (not the Bay): 14%
  • Elsewhere: 48%

“Note: In total the percentage of Californian’s is: just over 50%. It’s a safe bet that the 14% from California but not in the Bay Area are from the Los Angeles region where Spot.Us gets its second highest source of traffic.”

“Interestingly while only 37% of the survey takers were Bay Area residents, 73% of those that took the survey said they were interested in Bay Area news. It’s important to note that the question was phrased as such:”Keeping in mind that the Bay Area is a world trendsetter in clean technology and environmental policy, are you interested in green news related to the Bay Area?” So while the question was loaded – it was not so influential that it clouded reality – a fourth of those that took the survey weren’t interested in Bay Area environmental news at all.

It also wasn’t the case that ALL Bay Area residents said they were interested. Only 88% of Bay Area residents said they were interested in green news. Meanwhile the California/elsewhere group was 64% interested. Not bad!”

“What I found interesting in this graph was the relatively even spread of interest in green topics. There was no clear winner in what type of green news interested people the most. While climate and energy takes the cake – it’s followed very closely by policy, nature & conservation and every other topic. The business of green seemed to be least favorite  but again, only by a few percentage points.

I find these results to be the most enlightening.

In addition to the above topics, respondents were allowed to select “other” as an option, and then elaborate. Some of the “other” topics included travel and ecotourism, culture and arts, and there was one response that certainly stood out—the respondent was interested in “sexy green” news, citing that he wanted to know “how to make love in a pasture under a blue sky.” So do we my friend, so do we.”

“It seems that an aggregation service could work but not on a daily basis. For this kind of service the weekly roundup seems to be the sweet spot. Not only was it the most popular answer (28%) but it could also take advantage of other answers such as “when an event I’m interested in occurs.” It also plays a nice even ground between “several times a week” and “monthly” which got an even vote: 15% each.”

“When given the opportunity to elaborate on their answers, most people responded with online publications like the New York Times, NPR online, Slate, and even Twitter. However, there was still a good mix of the differing media outlets, except for cable news, which had a low following from respondents of the survey. This is interesting because video was the most commonly selected medium for getting environmental news. This may show how much people are abandoning TV news for online video documentaries and other similar outlets.”

Thank you to everyone who took the survey!

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One Response to Bay Area green news – 73% of survey takers say they want it

  1. Way Out West – Survey Results | Spot Us - "Community Funded Reporting" on 12/14/2010 at 2:36 pm

    [...] Meanwhile – let’s look at the results of the WOW survey which had 164 responders. (ALSO READ ABOUT IT AT WAY OUT WEST NEWS) [...]

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