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Technology Spurring Increase In U.S. News Consumption

September 14, 2010

Americans are keeping a closer eye on the news, and they tend to use both traditional media outlets and new high-tech methods to keep abreast of the latest headlines, the Pew Research Center has discovered.

According to the organization’s September 12 report, which was compiled during a cell phone and landline survey conducted between June 8 and June 28, the average U.S. citizen is consuming a total of 70 minutes of news per day. Of those 70 minutes, 57 come from newspapers, television, and radio–the highest total for traditional media since 2000–and 13 emanate from the Internet.

“The net impact of digital platforms supplementing traditional sources is that Americans are spending more time with the news than was the case a decade ago,” the researchers said. “This is one of the highest totals on this measure since the mid-1990s, and it does not take into account time spent getting news on cell phones or other digital devices.”

“Americans are increasingly integrating new technologies into their news consumption habits. More than a third (36%) of Americans say they got news from both digital and traditional sources yesterday, just shy of the number who relied solely on traditional sources (39%). Only 9% of Americans got news through the internet and mobile technology without also using traditional sources.”

However, the news isn’t all good for traditional forms of news coverage.

“Only about one-in-four (26%) Americans say they read a newspaper in print yesterday, down from 30% two years ago and 38% in 2006,” the Pew Researchers reported. “Meanwhile, online newspaper readership continues to grow”¦ but the online audience is only partially stemming the decline in the share of Americans who turn to newspapers.”

Furthermore, while 39% of those polled said that they regularly watched cable news programming, “the proportions saying they regularly watch CNN, MSNBC and CNBC have slipped substantially from two years ago”¦ Only Fox News has maintained its audience size.” The percentage of those who said they regularly watch CNN fell from 24% to 18%, while MSNBC’s audience dipped from 15% to 11%.

When compared to the average of the 2006 through 2008 studies, the overall populace is spending three additional minutes obtaining news coverage. The growth rate was highest in 40-49 year olds and 50-64 year olds, which increased eight and six minutes respectively over their previous years’ averages. The only group to experience a decrease in the amount of news they consume were 18-29 year olds, who dropped from a 47 minute average in 2006-08 to 45 minutes this year.

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