Consuming News


The news out of the 2008 biennial news consumption survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press is not the fact that the drop off of consumers of traditional news sources (especially print newspapers) continues to decline and the percentage of those accessing news online is soaring. These trends have existed for the past five or six surveys Pew has conducted over the past ten or 12 years. This year’s incarnation found a sizable minority of us are at “the intersection of these two long-standing trends,” Pew reports, where “today it is not a choice between traditional sources and the Internet for the core elements of today’s news audiences.” In other words, a new grouping of news consumers has developed whose news gathering habits integrate traditional media sources with the Internet.

Through the survey’s data, Pew has identified four segments in nation’s news audience: The above-mentioned group, who Pew terms “Integrators,” who use both traditional news sources along with the Internet. They make up 23 percent of those surveyed. The younger set, which Pew terms “Net-Newsers,” relies primarily on the Web and are the vanguards leading the social networking revolution. They are much less likely to watch television or read print newspapers. This tech-oriented group makes up 13 percent of those surveyed. The older crowd, dubbed the “Traditionalists” by Pew, is the largest grouping at 46 percent. This group cites television as their primary news source. The fourth group, the “Disengaged,” has little interest in news, according to Pew, and make up 14 percent of the public.

Newspaper readership continues to decline, a drop of six percent since 2006, from 40 to 34 percent. Nightly network news has stayed about the same at 29 percent, but that percentage has dropped by half since 1993. Cable television news seems to be holding its viewers and growing some, up to 39 percent who regularly watch now, as opposed to 34 percent two years ago and 33 percent in 2002…Possibly a result of “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report?” That’s my speculation only. Those who go online for news three or more times a week has risen to 37 percent, up from 31 percent just two years ago. Ten years ago only 13 percent of the public went online regularly for news, showing close to a three-fold increase over the past decade.

The trends are clear. Higher percentages of the public are depending on Web-based sources for news. Many of those who grew up accessing traditional media are transitioning by hybridizing their news sources, using a mix of traditional and new media sources.

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  • Dem02020

    IF someone has a serious interest in being informed of current national events, and they also have a computer connected to the internet, then it makes little if any sense for them to watch television for its version of national news.

    Anything and everything that you’d consider current national events (or simply national news), is presented on the Internet News Wire at a speed which is practically immediate, and to a degree of depth that is as complete as it can be (which is to say that whatever information there is on the national event in question, that information is found completely on the Internet News Wire, and as I said, practically immediately): and as far as the variety of news sources, it is truly mind boggling for how many portals of news and information there are, on the true Peoples News Wire, the Internet News Wire.

    Now, when you click on the idiot box for its version of national news, you know what you get for your source of information?

    Don’t bother with citing the call letters, such as ABC and NBC etc: demonstrate your insights in the matter, and tell it like it truly is…

    When you click on the idiot box for national news, you get as your sources the private corporations of General Electric and Disney and CBS and News Corp. and Time-Warner…

    That’s it: I just covered it completely (I believe): those private companies, with whatever private corporate interests it is they have, they are the sources of all that is called national news on the idiot box (and I just remembered PBS, but after so many years of being funded and controlled by a Republican Congress, PBS isn’t what it used to be, but maybe will return to its old self, soon).

    Again, it makes little or no sense to stare at the idiot box for the version of national news that those five monster American media corporations present nightly (and each morning too; and in the case of the cable outlets, nearly 24 hours a day), when you can just sit at your computer anytime you like, and access all the news you want as it breaks immediately, and to whatever depth of coverage there is available in the matter, and from so many sources it makes your head spin (and fills up your favorites folder so much, that it’s a task just to sort those news sources out).

    Above in the article, it was cited that maybe 14 percent of the American People “has little interest in news” (“Disengaged” is how PEW characterized them)…

    I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if those “Disengaged” People were smarter and even better informed, than the “Traditionalists”, staring at the idiot box, whom Pew measured presently at about 46 percent of the American People: because the eyes and ears of those “Traditionalists” are tied to the end of a string, that is pulled this way and that way (and whatever way serves the one pulling the string) by Time-Warner and GE and rupert murdoch…

    Old habits are hard to break I guess: if you’ve been staring mindlessly at the idiot box since infancy, I guess you can’t just tear your eyes and ears away from it easily, even when you know there’s an infinitely better and more honest and more complete source of news available to you, right at your fingertips, 24 hours and lightning quick, from a million portals of information…

    All Praise the Internet News Wire, the true People’s Newsire…

    General Electric and Time-Warner and rupert murdoch, they can’t go to hell fast enough to suit me.

  • enolan

    Woops :)
    Fixed now.
    Thanks for the catch.
    Colbert would be proud.
    Communication Assistant

  • Snowflake Seven

    Correction: Colbert with an “l” not with an “r”.