Most of us probably already assumed this, but now we know with cold, hard facts: More people get their news from the ‘net than from newspapers. Strangely enough, the Pew Research Center seems surprised by this shift. In a survey conducted in early December of 1,489 adults in the U.S., 40% said most of their national and international news comes from the Internet, compared to 35% of people who receive the information from newspapers.
Perhaps part of the surprise is because the percentage of newspaper readers has been mostly steady since 2005. When the Pew Center researched news sources in September of 2007, they found that only 24% of people admitted to getting their news from the Internet.
Overall, TV still beats both newspapers and the Web as a news source, with 70% of people receiving their news from TV (CNN and Fox News seem to be the top dogs). Give the Web a few more years, though, and it could likely overtake all other mediums. For younger adults, specifically those under 30, the Internet already ties TV as a news source, with both receiving 59% of the vote. Interestingly enough, TV beat the Internet among this age group last year. To illustrate how quickly things can change, TV received 68 percent of the vote, compared to the ‘nets 34% last year.
It’s hard to say for sure if people’s reading habits have really changed this dramatically in the last year or if Pew’s surveys are a lagging indicator of reality. Regardless, newspapers and other print sources will definitely want to take note, and perhaps start beefing up their Web content, if they haven’t already. One thing that’s hard to determine from the survey is how many newspaper’s online sites are sources for news.