Internet 'third-most popular news platform in US'

Mar 01, 2010
A woman reads the online version of the New York Times. The Internet has become the third most popular news platform for American adults, trailing only local and national television stations, according to a survey released on Monday.

The Internet has become the third most popular news platform for American adults, trailing only local and national television stations, according to a survey released on Monday.

Seventy-eight percent of the 2,259 adults surveyed for the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project and the Project for Excellence in Journalism said that on a typical day they get from a local TV station.

Seventy-three percent said they get news from a national TV network such as CBS or a cable TV news station such as CNN or Fox.

Sixty-one percent said that on a typical day they get news online while 54 percent said they listen to a radio news program at home or in the car.

Fifty percent said they read news in a local newspaper and 17 percent said they read news in a national newspaper such as The New York Times or USA Today.

Ninety-nine percent said they get news from at least one of these media platforms: a local or national print newspaper, a local or national TV news broadcast, the radio or the Internet.

Ninety-two percent said they get news from multiple platforms on a typical day, with half using four to six platforms daily.

Twenty-one percent of American adults who get news online rely on just one website for news and information but 57 percent consult between two and five, the survey found.

Eleven percent said they get their news from more than five websites and 65 percent they do not have a favorite site.

"Americans have become news grazers both on and offline -- but within limits," said Amy Mitchell, deputy director for The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

"They generally don't have one favorite website but also don't search aimlessly," she said. "Most online news consumers regularly draw on just a handful of different sites."

The survey also found that 33 percent of cellphone owners get news on their mobile devices.

"News awareness is becoming an anytime, anywhere, any device activity for those who want to stay informed," said Kristen Purcell, associate director for research at the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.

Portal websites such as Google News, AOL and Topix were among the most commonly used online news sources along with the sites of CNN, the BBC and local or national newspapers, the survey found.

Thirty-seven percent of users said they have contributed to the creation of news, commented about it or disseminated it via postings on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.

Seventy-five percent of online news consumers get news forwarded through email or posts on social networking sites and 52 percent said they share links to news with others.

The survey also asked for opinions about the news media.

Sixty-three percent said they agreed with the statement that "major news organizations do a good job covering all of the important news stories and subjects that matter to me."

Seventy-one percent, however, agreed with the statement that "most news sources today are biased in their coverage."

The survey was conducted between December 28 and January 19 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.

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