This report discusses two significant technological trends that have influenced Americans in their news consumption behaviour: First, the advent of social media like social networking sites and blogs which have helped the news become more of a social experience. Second, the increase in mobile connectivity via smart phones which has turned news gathering and news awareness into an anytime, anywhere affair for a segment of avid news watchers.
Here are some of the key findings from the survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project and the Project for Excellence in Journalism:
The overwhelming majority of Americans (92%) use multiple platforms to get news on a typical day, including national and local TV, the internet, local & national newspapers, and radio. Some 46% of Americans say they get news from four to six media platforms on a typical day. Just 7% get their news from a single media platform on a typical day.
Most news consumers utilize multiple platforms for news, but online their range of specific outlets is limited. The majority of online news consumers (57%) say they routinely rely on just two to five websites for their news. Only 11% say they get their news from more than five websites, and 21% regularly rely on just one site.
The most popular online news subjects are the weather (followed by 81% of internet news users), national events (73%), health and medicine (66%), business and the economy (64%), international events (62%), and science and technology (60%).
Some 80% of American adults have cell phones today, and 37% of them go online from their phones. The impact of this new mobile technology on news gathering is unmistakable. One quarter (26%) of all Americans say they get some form of news via cell phone today–that amounts to 33% of cell phone owners. These wireless news consumers get the following types of news on their phones
To a great extent, people’s experience of news, especially on the internet, is becoming a shared social experience as people swap links in emails, post news stories on their social networking site feeds, highlight news stories in their Tweets, and haggle over the meaning of events in discussion threads. For instance, more than 8 in 10 online news consumers get or share links in emails.
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Photo from Creative Commons: Flickr: Daniel R Blume