Internet Tops Newspapers As News Source, Still Lags TV

laptop with The New York Times online The Internet is now the most popular source of news after TV, according to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, which released its year-end roundup of news media consumption last week. While TV is still king of the hill, its steady decline in the face of Internet competition bodes ill in the long term. 

In 2008, 40% of the respondents said they got most of their national and international news from the Internet, versus 35% for newspapers in 2008. The Internet's share is up from 24% in 2007, while newspapers also increased slightly, from 34%. The long-term trend is even clearer: the Internet's share has more than tripled from 13% in 2001, while newspapers fell by almost a quarter--from 45%, in those six years.

(The figures add up to more than 100% because Pew accepted multiple responses to account for ambiguity in its survey of 1,489 adults from December 3-7. Although Pew did not explain this ambiguity, it might include respondents citing online newspapers or TV news Web sites alongside the traditional medium itself).

Although print newspapers--especially big metro dailies--appear to be locked in an irreversible long-term decline, newspaper Web sites have had big increases in audiences. In October 2008--the last month for which data is available--newspaper Web sites attracted a total of 68.97 million unique visitors--up 64% from 41.96 million in October 2004. The October 2008 figure represents 42% of the American adult Internet-using population--up from 28% in October 2004.

TV still takes first place as a news source, claiming 70% share in 2008--but that's down from 74% in 2007, and a peak of 82% in 2002. Significantly, the percentage is lower among adults under the age of 30, who have taken to Internet news enthusiastically. Fifty-nine percent of respondents in this age bracket said TV news was their primary source, while an identical percentage tapped the Internet. That's a big change from 2007, when 68% of people under the age of 30 chose TV, versus just 34% for the Internet.

1 comment about "Internet Tops Newspapers As News Source, Still Lags TV".
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  1. Kristin Shamberg from Centro, January 5, 2009 at 1:52 p.m.

    Good afternoon! I have a quick question for you please. What is the source for this statement, "In October 2008--the last month for which data is available--newspaper Web sites attracted a total of 68.97 million unique visitors--up 64% from 41.96 million in October 2004." Thank you so much for your help!!!!

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