Pew Report: Americans Spending More Time Getting News

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By: E&P Staff

News consumption among Americans is at its highest in the past decade, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press — and far more people are getting their news online than ever before.

Pew reports that approximately a third (34%) of the public said they went online for news yesterday, slightly higher than daily newspapers and in competition with radio. Add in those who said they went for news via their cell phones, e-mail, social networks and podcasts, and 44% of Americans say they got news through one or more Internet or mobile digital source yesterday.

Only about 1 in 4 (26%) Americans say they read a print newspaper yesterday, down from 30% two years ago and 38% in 2006, according to the study. Online newspaper readership grew to 17% (up from 13% in 2008).

One sobering statistic: Of that 26%, just 8% are among adults younger than 30.

Daily newspaper readers tend to be older on average than the general public, the study found — but the typical readership of major national dailies such as USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times are exceptions. More than 50% of regular USA Today and Wall Street Journal readers are younger than 50, and 67% of regular New York Times readers are younger than 50, with 34% of them younger than 30. That puts the Gray Lady’s audience substantially younger than the national average.

Only 14% of the respondents answered a four-question current events quiz correctly, but 51% of regular Wall Street Journal readers and 42% of regular New York Times readers did markedly better.

Despite the fact that the number of Americans who get news from such traditional media platforms as print, television and radio has been stable or trending downward in the last few years, the study shows there has been no overall decline in the percentage saying they watched news on television.

And even though the declines continue in news consumption via newspapers and radio, 75% of Americans got news yesterday from one or more of these three traditional platforms.

Check out the full study, here.

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