More News, More Online


The Pew Research Center for People and the Press released a biennial survey on the news consumption habits of Americans. It shows that while use of traditional news sources is declining slightly, consumption of media through the internet and other new technology has more than made up the difference. Thus total media consumption is at its highest level since the mid 1990s. The average American consumes a bit more than seventy minutes of news per day (Pew reports seventy without counting news accessed through cell phones). TV news remains important even though cable viewership has dropped slightly from its peak during the 2008 election. The number reading print newspapers has dropped and the number visiting newspaper websites has risen, but by less, thus the total number of newspaper readers is down slightly. Worse, readers of local papers tend to be older than the country as a whole (though the same is not true for readers of national papers like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today). Despite slight dips in the number of people consuming traditional media, those who still consume traditional news are consuming slightly more; the average American still spends 57 minutes a day on news from newspapers, radio or television as was the case a decade ago. In addition, we now also consume, on average, thirteen minutes of online news.

The poll surveyed 3,006 adults with land lines or cell phones and has a margin of error (95% confidence) of +/-2.5% for the full sample. Subsamples have higher margins of error, up to +/-7.5% for the 256 person sample of Twitter users. The full report is available for download here.
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