Pew study: News consumption up via mobile, social media

Social-networking sites grew from 9 percent to 19 percent as a source for news in the last two years, but only 3 percent of respondents say they regularly get news from Twitter.

Dan Farber
2 min read
Pew Research Center

The Internet is continuing to erode TV, radio, and newspapers as the source of news for Americans. According to the latest Pew Research Center survey covering the changing news landscape, the proliferation of mobile devices and social networks is accelerating the shift to online news consumption. In the survey, 39 percent said that they got their news online, up from 33 percent two years ago. 

Only TV surpasses online as a news source today. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, one-third watched some TV news, down from 49 percent in 2006.  Among those under 30, only 13 percent read a digital or print newspaper, while 33 percent viewed news on a social network and 34 percent saw some news on TV.  

A majority of those surveyed (64 percent) said they preferred news sources that didn't espouse a specific point of view, while 26 percent wanted news from sources sharing their political viewpoint. Yahoo, Google, CNN, local news, and MSN were the top five online news sources named among the respondents. 

Social-networking sites as a source for news grew from 9 percent to 19 percent in the last two years. Among the social-networking sites, 13 percent of respondents got some news from Twitter, and Twitter users are avid consumers of news. Only 9 percent of the Twitter users said they tweeted or retweeted regularly, which was a similar active user percentage to other social-networking sites. 

However, only 3 percent of those surveyed overall said that they regularly get news from Twitter, up from 2 percent in 2010. The percentage of the public that sees news on social-networking sites such as Facebook, Google+, or Twitter increased from 29 percent in 2010 to 47 percent in 2012.

Pew Research Center

The 18- to 24-year-old demographic consumes the least amount of news, which is not unexpected, with e-mailing, texting, and using social networks ranking as their top activities, according to the survey. Overall, 41 percent of those surveyed use social-networking sites.

News coming out of  the nation's capitol was not among the top news subjects among younger people.  Just 43 percent said they followed news from Washington, D.C., very or fairly closely, and 57 percent said they don't follow it too closely or not at all.

Pew Research Center

Pew Research Center's biennial news consumption survey was fielded May 9 through June 3, 2012, among 3,003 adults.