Pew study: Internet is now third most popular source of news



“Americans have become news grazers both on and offline – but within limits,” says 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. Most online news consumers regularly draw on just a handful of different sites.”

As an online writer, one of the most interesting data points for me is the fact that most online news surfers rely on just a handful of sites while 35 percent have a favorite site they visit for news. And 57 percent get news from just two to five websites for news.

Although the report shows a continued decline in readership for print newspapers, the researchers found that traditional news organizations' web sites--like CNN, BBC and local and national newspapers--are faring well. The problem is monetizing that traffic with online ads, which bring in significantly less revenue than print and on-air ads.

Also of note: 37 percent of Internet users have participated in the news-making process or reacted to news by commenting on stories and giving feedback.

News is quickly becoming a social experience as readers share their favorite stories on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. Many people I know use Twitter as a primary news source, relying on their network of friends to point out stories they would be interested in.

About 60 percent of adults get news online in a typical day, and 71 percent of Americans get news online at least occasionally.

Cell phones are becoming more common vehicles for news. Not surprisingly, readers under the age of 50 are three times more likely to get news on mobile devices.

Other tidbits:
--55 percent say it is easier to keep up with news than it was 5 years ago
--70 percent feel the amount of news and information available from a wide range of sources is overwhelming
--63 percent say they think major news organizations do a good job of covering important news stories
--71 percent say most news sources are biased in their coverage.


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