A new survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project and Project for Excellence in Journalism finds that Americans are increasingly embracing the Internet as a primary source of day-to-day news and information—and about a quarter of Americans—or third of Americans with cell phones—are tuning into news from their mobile phones. The survey also found that more than one-third of Americans have posted or disseminated news via social media services like Twitter and Facebook, and over a quarter have personalities their Internet home pages to include customized news feeds.
However, television news and national print newspapers remain Americans’ top two sources for news: 78 percent of the 2,259 adults surveyed reported they get news from a local TV station on a typical day, and 73 percent reported getting news from a national TV source such a broadcast or cable network. In comparison, some 61 percent said they get news online in a typical day.
Other forms of mass media fell behind the Internet: just over half (54 percent) of the survey’s respondents said they get news via radio, 50 percent said they read a local newspaper, and 17 percent said they turn to a national paper.
The bigger news might be the number of news consumers who cross over between sources: an overwhelming 92 percent of respondents said they get their news from multiple platforms (TV, online, print, radio), with about half tapping into four to six of those platforms on a daily basis.
Although the results would seem to indicate American news consumers are “grazers” that switch between news sources on an ad hoc basis, the survey seems to show that while news consumers don’t often seem to have favorite sites, they only utilize a handful of news sources in their typical day-to-day activities. Americans also seem to be a bit unsure of the the multifaceted news market: although a little over half (55 percent) say the multitude of sources makes it easier to keep up with current events than it was five years ago, more than two-thirds (70 percent) say the amount of news and information available to them is overwhelming. However, over two-thirds (69 percent) feel that keeping up with the news is a social or civic obligation.
Oh, and the most popular form of news for those cell-phone news grazers? Weather, followed closely by current events.