► Where does the Barometer come from?
The Barometer of confidence in the media was launched in 1987 by the quarterly review Médias Pouvoirs, created in December 1985 by the Bayard group. As the cost of a study carried out face-to-face according to the quota method is “disproportionate” for the review, La Croix, the daily newspaper of the Bayard group, becomes its partner.
Its editorial director, Noël Copin, will find it of real interest when the Barometer highlights the indignation of the public after the affair of the fake mass grave in Timisoara, in Romania, in 1989, or in relation to the media’s treatment of the war. of the Gulf against Iraq in 1991, says the media sociologist Jean-Marie Charon, who will become the editor-in-chief of the review.
When Media Powers ceased publication in 1998, La Croix found itself alone in financing the Barometer. A partnership was set up for a few years with Télérama, then more recently with onepoint, which specializes in the digital transformation of companies.
► How is the questionnaire designed?
For more than three decades, the French have been questioned about their interest in information, the credibility they grant to the various modes of access (television, radio, written press, then the Internet) and their perception of the independence of journalists. .
Other “barometric” questions have been added over the years: how do the French get information? How do they judge the media treatment of the major events of the past year? Are they confronted with more infox on the Internet?
More recently, the questionnaire has been enriched with questions related to current affairs which are also defined during preparatory meetings between Kantar (formerly TNS Sofres) and the editorial staff of La Croix. In full mobilization of the yellow vests, the French had been questioned on their perception of the coverage of the movement. Ahead of a presidential election, they are polled on the relationship between information and democracy. This year, in the perspective of the States General of the right to information, questions on the financing of the media or the regulation were posed.
► How has the survey methodology evolved?
From the start, the Barometer was carried out at the beginning of January according to the quota method with a sample of a thousand people, representative of the French population aged 18 and over. They were questioned face-to-face: a hundred investigators were mobilized over two or three days, presenting themselves at people’s homes.
This year, Kantar conducted a so-called “omnibus” survey (with other topics brought by other clients) in mixed mode (online and by telephone) on a representative sample of 1,500 people. In fact, 1,300 French people were interviewed online and 200, among the oldest, by telephone, because they are “more difficult to reach on digital media”, notes Guillaume Caline, director of the public issues and opinion division at Kantar Public. .
“Face-to-face interviews predominated until the 1980s,” explains the pollster. The following decade, the privileged mode of contemplation became the telephone. Then between 2005 and 2010, new players specialized in online surveys”, and the entire sector had to adapt to new uses.
The online respondent “can answer on his smartphone, when he wishes, and he is rewarded for this in the form of points which he accumulates and transforms into vouchers”, indicates Guillaume Caline. Another advanced advantage: he does not feel “judged” by the pollster and would answer more sincerely, as has been experienced on questionnaires related to the vote in favor of the far right or racism.
With regard to our Media Barometer, Kantar points out that the variations with the previous method are small, because “expressing distrust of an institution is not considered frowned upon” by respondents, notes Guillaume Caline .
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