Online polls don’t mean much. In a lot of cases they don’t even reflect a snapshot of the visitors to the site, merely a snapshot of those interested in clicking on the buttons.

But there is something interesting about one being run by Robert Niles at Online Journalism Review. It asks visitors to compare their newspaper reading habits today to what they read in 1988.

Right now there are 138 responses on today’s habits and 103 on reading habits in 1988 (including mine). As expected, the number of people of people who don’t read a print edition has climbed from 15 per cent in 1988 to 35 per cent today. And the number of people who read one newspaper a day has also climbed, from 28 per cent in 1988 to 39 per cent now.

The decreases are in those who read two newspapers a day (from 32 to 17 per cent), three newspapers a day (from 14 to 3 per cent) and four or more newspapers (from nine to three per cent). So, more than half of those talking the poll were reading two or more newspapers a day in 1988 and only 23 per cent are today.

As I wrote, you can’t make much of the numbers, but remember that the OJR’s readers are for the most part journalists, journalists-to-be, journalism educators and the like, some of whom have left interesting comments.

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