The overwhelming majority of Americans (92%) use multiple platforms to get their daily news, according to a new survey conducted jointly by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Project for Excellence in Journalism.
The internet is now the third most-popular news platform, behind local and national television news and ahead of national print newspapers, local print newspapers and radio.
Getting news online fits into a broad pattern of news consumption by Americans; six in ten (59%) get news from a combination of online and offline sources on a typical day.
The internet and mobile technologies are at the center of the story of how people’s relationship to news is changing. In today’s new multi-platform media environment, news is becoming portable, personalized, and participatory:
- Portable: 33% of cell phone owners now access news on their cell phones.
- Personalized: 28% of internet users have customized their home page to include news from sources and on topics that particularly interest them.
- Participatory: 37% of internet users have contributed to the creation of news, commented about it, or disseminated it via postings on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.
In addition, people use their social networks and social networking technology to filter, assess, and react to news. And they use traditional email and other tools to swap stories and comment on them. Among those who get news online, 75% get news forwarded through email or posts on social networking sites and 52% share links to news with others via those means.
Despite all of this online activity, the typical online news consumer routinely uses just a handful of news sites and does not have a particular favorite. And overall, Americans have mixed feelings about this “new” news environment. Over half (55%) say it is easier to keep up with news and information today than it was five years ago, but 70% feel the amount of news and information available from different sources is overwhelming.
About the Survey
The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research International between December 28, 2009 and January 19, 2010, among a sample of 2,259 adults, 18 and older. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 2.3
percentage points. For results based internet users (n=1,675) or “online news users” (N= 1,582), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting telephone surveys may introduce some error or bias into the findings of opinion polls. This survey was conducted on landline telephones (N=1,697) and cell phones (N=562) and is meant to be representative of all adults in the continental United States.