While discouraging, this finding isn't particularly surprising, coming amid long-term declines in print circulation and advertising.
According to the USC survey, 56% of Internet users said they considered print newspapers to be "important" or "very important" sources of information. That's down from 60% just two years ago.
In the latest survey, print newspapers trail the Internet, at 78%, and TV, at 68%, as important sources of information. Somewhat paradoxically, Internet users expressed a fair amount of distrust for content which appears online, with 61% saying less than half this "information" is reliable, and 14% saying that little or none of it is reliable. (This last figure is up from previous years.)
Also, 18% of Internet users have stopped subscribing to a newspaper or magazine because they can get the same (or equivalent) content more conveniently or at lower cost online.
Almost one-quarter -- 22% -- said they would not miss their print newspaper if it ceased publication. Tellingly, only 37% said they would switch to another paper in this hypothetical scenario.
In terms of advertising, a large majority of Internet users -- 70% -- said they find online advertising "annoying." But it appears to be better than paying for online content: 55% said they would rather have free content supported by online advertising than paid content.