In January 2018, IRIN and the University of East Anglia (UEA) ran a detailed survey to find out how people viewed our journalism and journalism in general from other media and specialist outfits. What stood out? what was missing? what could be improved?

We had 1636 responses from a mix of IRIN readers (76%) and non-readers (14%) including individuals working for NGOs, the corporate sector, the UN, in academia and in the media. 

Key highlights are as follows.

Our readership includes:

  • Not-for profit and NGO (35.9%), Academia (8.6%), United Nations (8.5%), Government (8.1%), Media (7.6%), Business (5.4%), Donor (1.2%), Other (24.7%).
  • A large percentage of readers are mid to senior level: 32% are mid career, 41% are senior professionals and 12% are at Executive Management/C-suite level

There is widespread dissatisfaction within the aid industry with the quantity and quality of mainstream news coverage of humanitarian issues and crises.

  • 73% of respondents agreed that mainstream news media does not produce enough coverage of humanitarian issues.
  • Mainstream news coverage was also regularly criticised for being selective, sporadic, simplistic and partial.

A significant percentage of readers see IRIN as being unique or clearly different in a number of areas:

  • 72% of readers agree that IRIN reports on issues that other news agencies do not.
  • 66% agree that IRIN publishes investigations into the aid sector that are hard to find elsewhere.
  • 64% agree that IRIN reports from locations that other news agencies do not.
  • 60% agree that IRIN offers expert analysis and opinions unavailable elsewhere.
  • 54% of respondents agree that IRIN ‘holds the aid sector accountable’.

Select quotes from our readers:

  • “IRIN covers stories from "forgotten" places, and offers a critical voice to those most impacted by conflict and war”
  • ‘’IRIN presents topics in a non-sensational manner and provides evidence based facts’’
  • ‘’IRIN provides much needed accountability mechanism for the sector that otherwise prefers to self govern’’

Readers value our journalism for a number of quite different reasons:

  • Consistent coverage of ongoing crises and issues (73%)
  • Voices and stories from the field (72%)
  • Expert analysis (56%)
  • Impartial, neutral reporting (55%)
  • Investigative reporting (51%)

Our journalism has an impact on our readers’ work:

  • The higher the seniority level, the higher the perceived value; 53.2% of executive management/C-suite staff say IRIN is important or very important to their work
  • 73% agree or strongly agree that IRIN content has stimulated further research and/or advocacy
  • 35% said IRIN informed organizational and operational priorities, including the deployment of staff and resources
  • 32% said IRIN influenced a decision to undertake a needs assessment and 29% said IRIN led their organization to push for internal or external policy change

This survey will serve as a benchmark as IRIN will continue to better engage its current and new audiences.

For further details please contact: Sarah Noble, Director of Fundraising and External Relations at IRIN News, [email protected]

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