April 18, 2011
Who watches TV any more? The Internet has officially outpaced television as
the primary way young people consume their news.
The Pew Research Center
reports that 65 percent of people under 30
cite the Internet as their primary news source, a number that's nearly
doubled from 2007, when 34 percent said the same thing. Over the same
period, the percentage of young adults citing television as their main new
source dropped from 68 percent to 52 percent.
Comparatively, 48 percent of adults ages 30-49
report internet as their major source of news, 34 percent of those ages
50-64, and 14 percent of those 65 and older.
Online dating and online education are on the rise, as well. Instead of
going to bars or going to classes people are setting up profiles and taking
courses online, and more importantly, they are meeting success when they do
Media conglomerates are having a hard time keeping us with large independent
websites taking away millions of viewers from television sets in all areas
including entertainment, sports, travel, news, dating and even shopping.
But what is most interesting about this data are the differences in media
consumption among races, classes, and political parties.
White and Hispanic respondents relied on
television and internet in similar patterns:
64 percent of whites relied on the
Internet most while 41 percent of whites relied on television the
66 percent and 45 percent for Hispanics,
(Respondents could list up to two
primary news sources, which means numbers didn't add up to 100
Over 20 percent more black respondents, however,
cited television as their main news source (86 percent), with 35 percent
relying primarily on the Internet.
This is interesting, considering it's been
well-documented that black people are
particularly active on social networking sites like Twitter. About a quarter
of Twitter's users are black, twice their share of the general population.
The positive thing to notice about this change in mediums is that itís not
just one thing thatís shifting toward an internet-focus. It seems like
everything is going that way.
We start so young with technology that using the
internet becomes a second-nature skill; as a kid you play video games, then
youíre introduced to Facebook and Twitter as a teenager, which brings you to
college where you have the option to take your classes online, and then land
a job where internet-use is an important part of it.
TV News Still
Dominates Among Less Educated
The income level and educational attainment categories paint a fuller
picture of the trends around news.
A striking pattern holds true in both areas:
The more educated and higher-income you are,
the more likely you are to get most of your news from the Internet, and
the less likely you are to do the same from television.
College graduates are about as likely to get
most of their national and international news from the internet (51%) as
Those with some college are just as likely as
college grads to cite the internet as their main source (51%), while 63%
cite television. By contrast, just 29% of those with no more than a high
school education cite the internet while more than twice as many (75%) cite
Similarly, those with household incomes of $75,000 or more are about as
likely to get most of their news on the internet (54%) as from television
(57%). People with household incomes under $30,000 are far more likely to
cite television (72%) than the internet (34%).
Both Cable News and Broadcast
News See Declines
Reflecting the slow decline in the proportion of people getting most of
their national and international news from television, the numbers
specifically citing cable news outlets or broadcast networks as their main
news source has fallen.
When asked where on television they get most of
36% name a cable network such as CNN,
the Fox News Channel or MSNBC
22% name ABC News, CBS News or NBC News
16% say they get most of their national
and international news from local news programming
Compared with five years ago, the share citing a
cable network as their main source is down seven points (from 43% to 36%),
and the share citing a broadcast network is down eight points (from 30% to
The local news figure has remained relatively
constant over this period.
Because the medium can so influence the message, so to speak, where
different groups are sourcing news is an important area of research. The
Internet, with its fast pace, plethora of news blogs, and the relative
decentralization and diffusion of its authors and reporters carries
content unlike that of TV, radio, newspapers, or magazines.
Each medium, of course, has its pros and cons,
potentially influencing users' interpretation and understanding of the news.
the Pew Center says it expects to see the
Internet continue to become an increasingly important source of news for all
folks - what's left to consider is how the hallmarks of that medium will
define the content, substance, and shape of our news.