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Every few weeks we ask Irish people what stories, issues and brands had an impact on their lives.

These are the stories which Irish people engaged with the most from January to March 2015.

Don't believe everything you read!

If you were to believe the newspaper columnists, radio panellists and twitter storms, you may think that in the first three months of the year, Irish people were mostly concerned about Irish Water, Lucinda’s new party and Diageo’s involvement in the STOP drinking campaign.

However, the ig score measures what really matters to Irish people. Over the past 12 weeks, we have been asking Irish people what news stories they are aware of and what stories have an importance in their lives.

When we bring these two metrics together, we have a score – the ig score – which stories people actually care and engage with.

 
 

Bad news

The top ten stories, from over 60 stories measured, are overwhelming negative in sentiment, including the German Wings plane crash, the Charlie Hebdo attacks, and waiting times in Irish hospitals. Only two stories – the solar eclipse and the Irish rugby team – could be deemed as positive news stories.

News editors have always understood that bad news is good news for TV viewership and newspaper sales, and it seems that terrorist attacks or anger over austerity has had a significant resonance with Irish people. However, there are specific stories below this top ten which Irish people have rated in terms of having a strong importance in their lives.

So what's the ig Score?

Every month, we look back on the top read stories, articles shared online, and radio discussions, to create a list of topics which people may have been aware of.

Between 1 January to 31 March 2015, we tested over 60 stories.

We ask 1,000 Irish people...

  • if they are aware of any of these stories - this gives us our Awareness metric.
  • the level which they believe these stories had an importance in their life - Importance metric.
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From this analysis we can provide a context of what stories had true impact and cut through in a world where everyone is competing for our attention.

Irish Water: the tap that never turned off

While most of us maybe sick of hearing about Irish Water, Irish people have consistently rated it high up on what matters to them. Over 85% of the population claim they have been aware about numerous stories in the first three months of the year. While interest in Irish Water declined since January from 70.7 to 52.0, the company has managed to creep back up the charts to 69.7 in March.


Marriage Equality debate viewed as important

While the awareness of the referendum debate has fluctuated over the past three months, the level of importance which those aware apply to this news story has been significant with scores above 70%. Women have been more engaged with the topic. Regardless of what side people take on this issue, there is a significant level of people engaged with the debate, but will this translate to voter turnout on 22 May?

Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.
— The proposed amendment to the Constitution

Joy on the field

One the few positive stories in the top 20 was the success of Irish rugby teams at the Six Nations. Across the weeks of the tournament, 4 in 5 people were aware of the Irish rugby team, and men were 12% more likely than women to claim it was an important story that the women won the cup.


It's the economy, stupid

While journalists love debating quantitative easing and bond buy-backs, the Irish people are less interested. From stories ranging from Greece’s anti-austerity Government to the IMF, there is a low level of awareness of these stories. The only story which received attention was the takeover of Aer Lingus, but the ig score has been falling since the debate whether to sell or not started in January.


STOP drinking or debating?

There has been a large amount of controversy surrounding the STOP out-of-control Drinking campaign called rolemodels.ie because of the involvement of Diageo and how they have funded the campaign. While the media have given plenty of newspaper columns and radio airtime to the €1m campaign, Irish people have grown bored of the discussion as awareness of the campaign has fallen from 65% to 36% despite people rating it as an important issue.


New or old politics?

Renua Ireland launched in the past few months, however this news story was below the average ig score falling from 33.0 at the Reboot Ireland event to 27.7 when Renua held a press conference. However, more people were aware of Renua than Enda Kenny’s Primetime interview (27.3), despite numerous calls that Enda needs to give more media interviews.


Law & Order

Two separate court stories which were in the headlines from January to March were the Graham Dwyer trial and Ian Bailey case.

With extensive coverage on both stories, the ig score remained relatively strong across the weeks.


That’s Show Business

The sad news of Tony Fenton’s death reached over 70% of people and they considered it was a significant moment.

In contrast, other entertainment stories had a high level of awareness like Jeremy Clarkson or Zayn Malik leaving BBC and One Direction respectively, but a low importance rating.

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We are currently measuring our next wave of stories.

What story should we measure next?


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