Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Internet as News Central

JANUARY 13, 2009

Only TV is a more popular source.

In yet another sign that news readers are dropping print for digital, the Internet has now surpassed all media except television as a news source, according to consumers surveyed in December 2008 by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

In December 2008, 40% of respondents said they got most of their news about national and international issues from the Internet, up from just 24% in September 2007.

Pew said it was the first time since it started surveying that consumers relied more on the Internet for news than on newspapers.

Television was still the main source for national and international news, at 70%.

For young people, however, the Internet now rivals TV as a news source. Nearly six out of 10 Americans younger than 30 said they got most of their national and international news online; the exact same percentage said TV was the main way they got their news.

Another indicator that print newspaper readers are shifting to online comes from the Readership Institute. Although two-thirds of Internet users surveyed in July 2008 said they still used print newspapers about as much as they did before they started visiting news sites, more than one-quarter said they were reading print less as a result. That figure has grown significantly in the past five years.

In addition, newspaper visitors are typically older, wealthier and better-educated than the average US Internet user. However, young Internet users are getting their news online more often than from print—a trend that bodes well for newspaper sites as these visitors age and, it is to be hoped, maintain their online news habits.

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