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Internet Passes Papers As News Source

From the Pew Internet & American Life Project:

Understanding the Participatory News Consumer

March 1, 2010

Summary of Findings – Overview

In the digital era, news has become omnipresent. Americans access it in multiple formats on multiple platforms on myriad devices. The days of loyalty to a particular news organization on a particular piece of technology in a particular form are gone. The overwhelming majority of Americans (92%) use multiple platforms to get news on a typical day, including national TV, local TV, the internet, local newspapers, radio, and national newspapers. Some 46% of Americans say they get news from four to six media platforms on a typical day. Just 7% get their news from a single media platform on a typical day.

The internet is at the center of the story of how people’s relationship to news is changing. Six in ten Americans (59%) get news from a combination of online and offline sources on a typical day, and the internet is now the third most popular news platform, behind local television news and national television news

In this new multi-platform media environment, people’s relationship to news is becoming portable, personalized, and participatory. These new metrics stand out:

    * Portable : 33% of cell phone owners now access news on their cell phones.
    * Personalized : 28% of internet users have customized their home page to include news from sources and on topics that particularly interest them.
    * Participatory : 37% of internet users have contributed to the creation of news, commented about it, or disseminated it via postings on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.

To a great extent, people’s experience of news, especially on the internet, is becoming a shared social experience as people swap links in emails, post news stories on their social networking site feeds, highlight news stories in their Tweets, and haggle over the meaning of events in discussion threads. For instance, more than 8 in 10 online news consumers get or share links in emails

These are some of the key findings to come out of a new survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project and the Project for Excellence in Journalism aimed at understanding the new news landscape. Below are some of the other key findings:

The internet has surpassed newspapers and radio in popularity as a news platform on a typical day and now ranks just behind TV.

More than half of American adults (56%) say they follow the news “all or most of the time,” and another quarter (25%) follow the news at least “some of the time.”  Asked specifically about their news habits on “a typical day,” the results are striking: 99% of American adults say that on a typical day, they get news from at least one of these media platforms: a local or national print newspaper, a local or national television news broadcast, radio, or the internet.

Only local and national TV news, the latter if you combine cable and network, are more popular platforms than the internet for news. And most Americans use a combination of both online and offline sources. On a typical day:

* 78% of Americans say they get news from a local TV station
    * 73% say they get news from a national network such as CBS or cable TV station such as CNN or FoxNews
    * 61% say they get some kind of news online
    * 54% say they listen to a radio news program at home or in the car
    * 50% say they read news in a local newspaper
    * 17% say they read news in a national newspaper such as the New York Times or USA Today.

Americans today routinely get their news from multiple sources and a mix of platforms. Nine in ten American adults (92%) get news from multiple platforms on a typical day, with half of those using four to six platforms daily. Fully 59% get news from a combination of online and offline sources on a typical day.  Just over a third (38%) rely solely on offline sources, and 2% rely exclusively on the internet for their daily news.

The average online consumer regularly turns to only a few websites.

Most news consumers utilize multiple platforms for news, but online their range of specific outlets is limited. The majority of online news consumers (57%) say they routinely rely on just two to five websites for their news. Only 11% say they get their news from more than five websites, and 21% regularly rely on just one site.

Moreover, many do not have strong loyalty to particular online sources. When asked whether they have a favorite online news source, the majority of online news users (65%) say they do not.  Among those who do, the most popular sites are those of major news organizations such as such as CNN and Fox.

Internet users use the web for a range of news, but local is not near the top of the list…

What the Pew Research people fail to note is that more and more people use the internet because it is ‘verifiable’ in a way that other news outlets are not.

That is to say, in a matter of a few mouse clicks one can check any claim and in general find the context of any news story.

People who follow current events are no longer satisfied with just taking some news readers word for the facts.

And, of course, there is the question of media bias:

A subject (the liberal) Pew Research people leave out of their overview, but do note in passing in their full report.

You can read the entire 51 page Pew Research study (a pdf file) here.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, March 1st, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Internet Passes Papers As News Source”

  1. proreason says:

    The internet is teaching people what we should have known all along.

    There is no news. That was a term invented by the priests who got rich running newspapers and TV stations that were designed make you think that their version of events is the truth.

    Now we know that there are multiple interpretations of events and that even the underlying events themselves are often invented or mis-reported. And we know that the newspaper solons are a particularly biased and invalid source of information. They are far more likely to lie to distort events to impose their own vision, because while they were developinging into the liars that they are, they could get away with it. They still think so, but they are wrong.

  2. GetBackJack says:

    Anytime you see the noun Pew, remember this …

    [snip] – But, as Martin Morse Wooster points out in The Great Philanthropists & the Problem of “Donor Intent,” from the creation of the first large charitable foundations early in this century, something very strange occurred: professional bureaucrats gradually took over the foundations and perverted their purposes. Thus the Rockefeller Foun-dation, set up by the billionaire Baptist businessman, soon became a major source of funds for “progressive” (i.e., anti-business, anti-religious) causes.

    This happened even in many cases where the person who created and funded the foundation went to great lengths to see that it focused on promoting free enterprise. Consider the case of J. Howard Pew of Sun Oil. During his lifetime, he was a tireless champion of free markets and individualism. In 1957, he created the J. Howard Pew Freedom Trust, with instructions that it use its funds to “acquaint the American people” with “the evils of bureaucracy,” “the values of the free market,” and “the paralyzing effects of government controls on lives and activities of people,” to “inform our people of the struggle, persecution, hardship, sacrifice and death by which freedom of the individual was won” and to educate them about how “Socialism, Welfare statism [and] Fascism . . . are but devices by which government seizes the ownership or control of the tools of production.” In accordance with those wishes, the Freedom Trust funded mostly libertarian and conservative activities, as long as its board consisted of Pew family members and friends.

    But as the family members and friends died off, they were replaced by others who gradually reoriented its spending, first toward mainstream activities, then gradually toward the very activities that the trust had been set up to oppose. In 1994 it gave $6 million to left-liberal causes and just $150,000 to conservative or libertarian efforts. [snip]

    The Great Philanthropists & the Problem of “Donor Intent,”
    by Martin Morse Wooster. (Capital Research Center, 1998, 198 pages)

  3. U NO HOO says:

    I just thought of George Costanza and his dead girl friend’s foundation, “and the townhouse?” “Nope, not now.”

    Death changes things.

    I watch Fox cable, listen to Gunther, Beck, Rush…andBCast, etc.

    Hardly any real broadcast TV except for 2 and a half bimbos and big bang theory.

  4. Liberals Demise says:

    It ain’t the same since Algore invented the internet.

    “………and that’s the way it is”
    Eh, Walter?

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