How People Get News Changing Rapidly

The share of Americans who primarily get news from the Internet has increased 21 points since 2003.Changes in how people get news makes communications planning more complicated. A recent Pew Research study found the Internet has solidified its position as the number two source for news surpassing the newspaper and radio. And the Internet is closing the gap with television as the number one source for national and international news.

Since 2003, the share of Americans who primarily get news from the Internet has increased 21 points, from 20 percent to 41 percent. During the same 2003 to 2010 period, there were smaller audiences for:

  • Newspapers, dropping 19 points, from 50 percent to 31 percent;
  • Television, declining, 14 points from 80 percent to 66 percent;
  • Radio dropping two points, from 18 percent to 16 percent.

Where do people get news by demographic group?

  1. The Internet is the number one news source among those 18 to 29 years old;
  2. News sources among those 20 to 49 years old resembles the general population;
  3. Television dominates as the news source among those 50 to 64 years old with newspapers and the Internet almost tied for second;
  4. Among those 65 years and older, television and newspapers remain the top two sources for news; and
  5. Those earning $75,000 or more and college graduates are evenly divided in their news source choice between television and the Internet for news.

Here are three tips for using the Pew Research results:

  1. Include more than one media tool in your communication effort. No single media channel will make your communications plan succeed;
  2. Your target audience will dictate the media mix. The Internet is a must-use media for those under age 50, who also have higher incomes and college education; and
  3. Integrate media efforts. Linking information between various media will ensure a broader reach and greater impact.