As public relations professionals, we work hand-in-hand with the media on a daily basis. How people perceive the media therefore is a major factor in the ways we tell our clients’ stories. That’s why we chose media as a key topic in our third-annual State of Seattle survey. We looked at media through two separate lenses: civility of media coverage in the current political races and media consumption.

On the political front, nearly half of Seattle residents say the general tone and level of civility of national media coverage of the presidential election is worse than prior elections. Locally, our media fare better: the majority of residents say the tone and level of civility toward our state’s candidates for governor has been about the same as past election coverage.

These perceptions of incivility can impact how we consume media and how much attention we pay to politics. According to a survey on Civility in America conducted earlier this year by Weber Shandwick, Americans are disengaging from the political process and the media due to incivility. More than half report that incivility is inciting them to tune out of politics, government and election coverage.

The good news is we’re not entirely disengaged from the media, although perceptions of incivility may be encouraging people to seek new sources for information. Overall, we’re seeing a shift toward online sources – online newspaper sites, social media, blogs and magazine sites, with 38 percent of local residents reporting those outlets as their primary news sources. Seattleites also say they turn to local broadcast news for information, although consumption is down slightly from a year ago, with 35 percent of Seattleites saying they tune in, versus 44 percent in 2011.

The shift in media consumption certainly speaks to the need to tell stories in multiple ways as we seek engage consumers from all angles—similar to our  Content Fusion communications framework. Be it through advertising, a corporate blog, or a traditional media placement, it’s important to understand where and how to engage with your audience, while understanding the need to adapt as media consumption and interaction changes.

Check out our infographic on the media survey results below and be sure to check out our additional posts on the State of Seattle findings.

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