TV Remains Top News Source

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A new report from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press finds that television is still Americans’ leading source of news and information, but an increasing number of Americans are turning to online news sources, particularly among advertising’s most-coveted demographics. Overall, the survey’s results show a shift towards online news, along with a growing audience segment that rely on both traditional and online media.

The survey polled 3,615 U.S. adults aged 18 or over between April 30 and June 1, 2008. Some 46 percent of respondents indicated they have a "heavy reliance" on television for news at all times of the day. Not coincidentally, these respondents also have the highest median age (52) of the groups represented in the survey. This group may also represent the least affluent group of respondents, with some 42 percent reporting they were unemployed.

In contrast, the group that relies on online news sources has the youngest median age (35) of respondents, and represents only 13 percent of those polled. Of this group, less than half report watching television news on a regular basis, and they say they’re twice as likely to read an online edition of a newspaper than a printed version. Fully 80 percent of this group has a college education.

The study also identifies a group of "integrators" who account for about 23 percent of respondents. Integrators spend more time per day than other groups with news and information sources, and tend to be well-educated, well-off people who use both traditional and online media to get news and information. Integrators also demonstrate more interest in political and sports news than other groups.

The survey also identifies a possible sense of apathy among young respondents, finding that about a third of respondents under 25 years of age reported getting no news at all on a typical day. Ten years ago, only about a quarter of the under-25 set reported getting no news at all on a typical day.

(Logo image from Hugo Gernsback’s 1930s hobbyist magazine Television News.)

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