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.