Pew report: We get our news everywhere

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Need to be convinced that the nature and transmission of news have changed?

A new report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project should do the trick.  The report, brought to my attention by Emerson colleague Mark Leccese, finds that 92 percent of American adults now get their news from “multiple platforms.”

The Internet has become the third most popular source of news behind local and national television and ahead of newspapers and radio. About 60 percent of American adults turn to it for news on a typical day.

“Americans have become news grazers both on and offline – but within limits,” says Amy Mitchell, Deputy Director for The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, “They generally don’t have one favorite website but also don’t search aimlessly. Most online news consumers regularly draw on just a handful of different sites.

There are other interesting pieces of information:

  1. A third of cell phone owners use them to get news.
  2. More than 1 in 4 internet users customize home pages to get personalized sources of news.
  3. More than a third (37 percent) are involved in some way in creating, commenting on or disseminating news on social media.

The survey, conducted by Princeton Survey Research International, was done by telephone and polled 2,259 adults between Dec. 28, 2009 and Jan. 19, 2010. It reports a margin of error of 2.3 percent.


More is not necessarily better. Pew notes: “Americans have mixed feelings about the current news environment.Over half (55 percent) say it is easier to keep up with news and information today than it was five years ago, but 70 percent feel the amount of news and information available from different sources is overwhelming.”

About jerrylanson

I teach, write, coach and sing, though you're not required to listen to the latter. I'm a journalism professor at Emerson College in Boston. My third book, "Writing for Others, Writing for Ourselves," was published in November by Rowman & Littlefield Publishing. You can read a sample chapter at My passions are politics (generally liberal in outlook), music, mountains, golden retrievers and my grandchildren, though not in that order. Please stop by and mix it up with me. I always answer those who post.
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5 Responses to Pew report: We get our news everywhere

  1. libtree09 says:

    I get a great deal of news from the internet but most of it was written by established journalists writing from newspapers. The Huffington Post has plenty of news but very little from their own reporters and they have lots of opinions from less than expert bloggers.
    So this study is a bit misleading. Also what does polling by telephone mean? Hard lines or cell phones? This is a perfect example of overload of information, tons of studies thrown out there, very few questioning their veracity.

    • Jerry Lanson says:

      Hi libtree,

      Great point on polls. My wife is adamant about not trusting them. Pew is known to have a good reputation but your questions are on point. The results of polls can be influenced by the nature of the questions and by the way the questions are phrased and asked. More people are refusing to participate in polls and, in an age of cells phones, more people are more difficult to reach. So lots of factors come into play. Thanks for point that out.

  2. andreaitis says:

    These two points are most interesting to me:
    – More than 1 in 4 internet users customize home pages to get personalized sources of news.
    – More than a third (37 percent) are involved in some way in creating, commenting on or disseminating news on social media.

    The audience is moving from passive to active, and that will lead to a more democratic news experience.

    • Jerry Lanson says:

      More democratic but also more fractured. I thought it was interesting that most readers use multiple sites and media but still have a pattern, a routine. That’s very much what I do but I wouldn’t have thought myself to be the norm. I stop by seven or eight sites, read a couple of newspapers, listen to NPR on the way to work. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Pingback: Startup Single Guy Searching for Partner: Chronicle of a Successful First Date « News Launch Diary

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