Herald Survey

What They Read


Newspapers are still popular with young teenagers. As many as 70% of those questioned said that they read a paper but again there are significant differences between the genders.

More than three-quarters of boys said they spent on average 10 minutes a day reading a paper, with the sports pages being the most popular. Only 13% of boys said they read the whole newspaper. Television listings was the only other area of the newspaper specifically mentioned.

Only 63% of girls calimed to be readers of newspapers and while 16% read the whole paper, 12% said that they used the newspaper for the television pages and 11% noted the sports section as the most important.

Although girls spend slightly less time reading newspapers, they are reading more widely. For the press the worrying finding is that in 1997 girls are spending nearly twenty minutes less on newspapers each week than the girls of 1988 did. In keeping with a general decline in the amount of time spent reading, girls are spending less time on newspapers.

The survey also revealed that, in second year at least, pupils read tabloids. Thirty-one percent of pupils are regular readers of the Daily Record. The figure is less in the Highlands (24%) but the Daily Record was by far the most popular newspaper. In Argyll & Bute it's popularity rises to 37%.

Nearly eighty percent of teenagers said they usually read a magazine but this time it is the girls who spend more time reading. The average girl spends one hour and 35 minutes every week reading through a magazine while 17% of the gilrs said that they spent more than three hours every week reading the articles in their favourite magazine.

The most popular magazine with the girls is Sugar followed by Shout and then It's Bliss. What is disappointing is the narrowness of the range and the fact that the same magazines are being read throughout the country. Only 9% of girls said they did not buy a magazine.

Among boys there is a slightly wider range of content but most are to do with sport. Boys it appears are spending lots of time reading about or watching sport but leaving very little time to take part. Sport in Scotland has become a spectator activity.

The most popular magazine among the boys is Rangers News with 11% of boys saying they are regular readers. Shoot is a close rival with 8% while others magazines featured baseball, fishing or car racing. Few boys mentioned computer magazines perhaps because the survey involved 13-year-olds and computer magazines are more expensive.

When asked how much time they spent reading books, 38% of all respondents failed to give any reply. What lies behind the headline increase in the amount of time that boys spend reading is a widening gap between the readers and the non-readers. Those who are reading, are reading more but there is a growing percentage of boys who are not reading at all.

Our survey has discovered that 50% of boys failed to enter any figure for the amount of time spent reading books. If this 50% of second year boys are not reading books at, the other 50% are spending approximately three hours and 15 minutes with each week with their books.

It is interesting to note that it is often the boys who are spending a lot of time on computers who are alsoreading most whereas those spending a signifcant amount of time watching television do not seem to read as much, perhaps because they are often watching sports' programmes.

Among the boys, 10% named Roald Dahl as their favourite author, perhaps a reflection of class reading rather than private reading while 15% of girls said they read the Point Horror in their own time.

The girls spend an average of just under three hours reading every week although this also masks the fact that 27% of girls failed to give any answer to the question on reading.

Reading books appears to be much less popular with girls than it was in 1988 when the average time spent with books was just over five hours.

Herald Media Survey
What they Watch
Listening Habits
Dawn of the Computer Age