News No Longer Newspaper's Forte

by , Jan 16, 2009, 8:15 AM
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According to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, the Internet has now surpassed all other media except television as an outlet for national and international news. Currently, 40% of the survey respondents say they get most of their news about national and international issues from the internet, up from just 24% in September 2007. For the first time in a Pew survey, more people say they rely mostly on the internet for news than cite newspapers. Television continues to be cited most frequently as a main source for national and international news.

National and International New Sources (% of Respondents)

Year

Television

Newspaper

Internet

2001

74%

45%

13%

2002

82

42

14

2003

80

50

46

2004

74

46

24

2005

73

36

20

2006

74

37

21

2007

74

34

24

2008

70

35

40

Source: Pew Research Center, December 2008

For young people, however, the internet now rivals television as a main source of national and international news. Nearly six-in-ten Americans younger than 30 (59%) say they get most of their national and international news online; an identical percentage cites television. In September 2007, twice as many young people said they relied mostly on television for news than mentioned the internet (68% vs. 34%).

Main News Source for Young People (% of Respondents Age 18 to 29; Multiple Response OK)

Main News Source

Aug 2006

Sept 2007

Dec 2008

Change 07-08

Television

62%

68%

59%

-11

Internet

32

34

59

+25

Newspaper

29

23

28

+5

Radio

16

13

18

+5

Magazine

1

-

4

+4

Other

3

5

6

+1

Source: Source: Pew Research Center, December 2008

The survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Dec. 3-7 among 1,489 adults, finds there has been little change in the individual TV news outlets that people rely on for national and international news:

  • 23% of the public says they get most of their news from CNN
  • 17% cite Fox News;
  • Smaller shares mention other cable and broadcast outlets

While the 2008 presidential campaign attracted high levels of public attention, the economy was the top story of the year in terms of news interest, according to Pew's Weekly News Interest Index. In late September, as the nation's financial crisis deepened, 70% said they were following news about the economy very closely. That ranks among the highest levels of news interest for any story in the past two decades.

Top News Interest Stories of 2008 (% of respondents)

Rank

Story

Date

% of Respondents Who Followed Very Closely

1

Conditions of US economy

9/22-28

70%

2

Rising gasoline price

6/2-8

66

3

Wall Street bailout

9/29-105

62

4

Presidential election

10/13-19

61

5

US Stock Market drop

10/6-12

59

6

Falling gasoline prices

10/13-19

53

7

Hurricane Ike

9/8-14

50

8

Wall Street financial crisis

9/15-21

49

9

Obama transition

11/17-23

49

10

Presidential primary

2/11-17

44

11

Hurricane Gustav

9/1-7

42

12

Auto bailout debate

11/17-23

41

13

Rising unemployment

12/1-7

40

14

Midwest floods

6/16-22

39

15

Olympic games

8/18-24

35

Source: Pew Weekly News Index, December 2008... a weekly survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, gauging the public's interest in and reaction to major news events.

And, from eMarketer, a recent report confirming that, without sugarcoating, "the outlook for newspaper publishers in the US is dismal." eMarketer estimates that newspaper advertising revenues declined 16.4% in 2008 to $37.9 billion.

US Newspaper Advertising Revenues (Billion $ and % change)

Year

Ad Revenues ($Bil)

% Change from Previous Year

2007

$45.4

-7.9%

2008

37.9

-16.4

2009

31.9

-15.9

2010

30.2

-5.3

2011

29.1

-3.6

2012

28.4

-2.5

Source: eMarketer, December 2008

Carol Krol, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, Newspapers in Crisis: Migrating Online, says "... newspaper revenues are falling more than in any other major medium... even... classified advertising is plummeting due to craigslist and other online alternatives."

The financial pressure on newspapers is enormous, says the report. Ms. Krol continues "... newspaper publishers are beefing up their Websites... "but online ad revenues, which offered a glimmer of hope, are now falling."

The Newspaper Association of America tracked two consecutive quarters of declining revenues for newspapers online for Q2 and Q3 of 2008, the first time that has occurred since it began tracking online figures in 2003.

For 2008, eMarketer estimates online newspaper ad revenues declined by 0.4% overall compared with 2007, to $3.2 billion, and forecasts they will drop further into negative territory in 2009, down 4.7% to $3 billion.

The "State of the News Media 2008" report describes the dilemma as a decoupling of news and advertising: "... the emerging reality is that advertising isn't migrating online with the consumer... new business models beyond advertising may be required," says Ms. Krol.

For additional information about the PEW report, please visit here. To learn more from the eMarketer article, please visit here.

 

0 comments on "News No Longer Newspaper's Forte".

  1. Andrew Davis from API
    commented on: January 16, 2009 at 9:25 a.m.

    Where do Internet and TV news consumers think the news is coming from? Most (except for cataclysmic, telegenic events) begins in the newsrooms of newspapers, Rush Limbaugh doesn't have a radio program without reading the Times, Post and Journal. Diotto for John Stewart. Even network television sets its nightly news budget by first seeing what news has played where in the major daily newspapers. And local broadcast news outlets have not a clue where to send their limited camera crews without first reading their local newspapers. The newspaper industry invests $7 billion a year in the news product...a vast multiple of what is spent by broadcast, and lest we forget, Google and Yahoo have no newsgathering capacity. The repurposing of newspaper content is done without compensation to the source as well.

  2. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston
    commented on: January 16, 2009 at 10:06 a.m.

    Andrew (below) is correct that the news comes from the newspapers, but he misses the point that Twitter and other user-generated sources could replace them quickly. Preposterous? That's what we all thought when we learned of a user-generated encyclopedia a few years ago. (And don't bore me with accusations of Wikipedia being wrong: Even Encyclopedia Brittanica's own research showed their error rate at 2.8% versus Wikipedia's 3.7% -- big deal).
    By the way, the local media in New York did just fine yesterday knowing where to send their crews, without any help from the Times, Newsday or the Post.

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