Missoula Independent Boosted by Survey Results

Study indicates readers view paper as more credible than local daily.

The Missoula Independent is more credible than its daily competition, according to a survey commissioned by the alternative weekly.

Matt Gibson, publisher of the Montana paper, said 52 percent of the 312 Missoula County adults interviewed who read the Independent said “credible” was an accurate way to describe the weekly, while 43 percent said the same thing about the Missoulian. The study, conducted Dr. E.B. Eiselein of A & A Research and released Thursday, measured how readers perceived the two publications.

“We feel like there (is) … a false perception, particularly among advertisers, of who our readers are and what we accomplish at the newspaper,” Gibson said. “I think it’s a huge development. I can’t imagine another market where the weekly has as much credibility as the daily.”

Gibson said the Independent’s inclination to take sides on an issue does not preclude the paper from being viewed as credible, while the daily’s “bland, inoffensive and uninteresting” coverage leads readers to believe they’re not receiving the whole story.

The survey also found that 51 percent of readers would describe the Independent as “smart,” compared to 33 percent for the daily. Meanwhile, eighty-three percent of readers said “local” was a good description of the alternative, compared to 67 percent for the Missoulian.

Gibson said the Missoula Independent plans to build a new media kit based on the results of the local study. The survey has a 5.8 percent margin of error.