Pew: young people signal an online news future

use of the web for news by young people doubles in one yearThis week’s stunning Pew Research report “Internet Overtakes Newspapers as News Source” is a wake-up call for the broadcast industry.

The Pew Research Center for the Public and the Press has been tracking media usage since the turn of the century, and for the first time ever, the Internet has surpassed newspapers as the main source of national and international news for people overall, but the big story, in my opinion, is what’s happening with young people.

According to Pew, as many people aged 18–29 cite the Internet as their main source of news as they do television. This is the canary in the coal mine for broadcasters, who, like newspapers, have been struggling with an aging mass audience for years. No longer is it a guess that the Web is the future for news and information (although it never really was a guess, the handwriting being obvious for over a decade).

television and the Web tie among young peopleNearly six-in-ten Americans younger than 30 (59%) say they get most of their national and international news online; an identical percentage cites television. In September 2007, twice as many young people said they relied mostly on television for news than mentioned the internet (68% vs. 34%).
Figure

The percentage of people younger than 30 citing television as a main news source has declined from 68% in September 2007 to 59% currently.

The spike in the use of the Web for news by young people is truly remarkable, and it mirrors a previous study by Pew during the Presidential campaign.

One caveat for this study is that it only looks at national and international news. Newspapers and television stations still dominate local news, but it would be foolish to assume safety in any mass marketing incumbent. There are plenty of online local news efforts underway, and it’s just a matter of time before the Web dominates at the local level as well.

Comments

  1. Fredrika Andersson says

    Internet may seem superior to TV and newspapers because you can find many posts and comments concerning a topic or an event. New information is constantly being published. But one might need more in-depth research, which newspapers can give.
    In this article
    ( http://www.editorsweblog.org/multimedia/2008/03/using_facebook_to_gain_young_readers.php ) Carolyn Lo writes about how newspapers use Facebook to gain young readers. On Facebook people can become members of groups such as The New York Times and they can post articles, videos, add applications etc. I think this is a smart way of reaching out to a younger crowd since it is a great resource in sharing information and staying connected with people and most youth today are members of this Internet community.
    This also opens up a new understanding of what is considered to be “news” since more and more people use the Internet for information. There is so much data to be found and you constantly stumble upon new information on websites, blogs, internet forums etc.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Terry Heaton has been following these trends for years and it’s something to keep in mind regarding his perspective on local news. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around new technology, but one thing I do know is that good journalism is on the Internet. […]

  2. […] You mean this didn’t happen until this week? Terry Heaton: This week’s stunning Pew Research report “Internet Overtakes Newspapers as News Source” is a wake-up call for the broadcast industry. […]

  3. […] Pew has released a new study with the headline, “Internet overtakes newspapers as news source.” Not surprising one bit, but there’s TV data, too. Quoting Terry Heaton now: “According to Pew, as many people aged 18–29 cite the Internet as their main source of news as they do television. This is the canary in the coal mine for broadcasters, who, like newspapers, have been struggling with an aging mass audience for years.” […]

  4. […] Pew: young people signal an online news future. I’m with Terry Heaton on his reading of the recent Pew survey on news sources. The truly significant bit isn’t that more people are getting their news from the internet than from printed newspapers (for the first time ever) but that as many 18–29 are getting their news from the ‘net as they are from TV. Related: Doug Fisher’s Inernet as news ’source’? […]

Speak Your Mind

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.