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Television Losing Ground to the Internet as a Main Source of News

Television remains the main source of national and international news for most Americans, but it is steadily losing its lead over the Internet.




According to a Pew Research Center poll conducted Dec. 1-5. The trend toward the Internet is particularly marked among 18-to-29 year-olds who now favor it over television to learn what's going on in the country and the world.





Sixty-six percent of those surveyed said they get their dose of news from television compared to 41 percent who said they count on the Internet. While the number of those using the Internet for most of their news has not changed dramatically in the last two years, there has been a big shift since 2007, when 74 percent went to TV for their news and 24 percent turned mainly to the Internet.

It's no surprise, given the last few years of bleak stories about the print media, that newspapers come in third, with 31 percent getting most of their news from them. The biggest decline in the numbers of people who cite newspapers as their main source was between 2003 and 2005, but the percentage continues to drop slowly but steadily. Radio as a source of news was cited by 16 percent. (Figures add to more than 100 percent because respondents could volunteer up to two main sources.)

Sixty-five percent of news consumers in the 18-to-29 bracket say they get their news mostly from the Internet compared to 52 percent for television. In 2008 and 2009, television and the Internet were tied as the go-to places for this group.

Dependence on television has declined for older age groups as well, but not as dramatically:

- Among 30-to-49-year-olds, 63 percent go to television as their news source, a drop of four points since the previous year, and 48 percent mostly use the Internet.

- Seventy-one percent of 50-to-64-year-olds count on television, down from 77 percent in 2009. But the difference in this age bracket is that newspapers, not the Internet, come in second, with 38 percent still getting most of their information from newspapers compared to 34 percent who depend more on the Internet.

- Television slipped slightly as a news source for those over 65, from 83 percent in 2009 to 79 percent. Forty-seven percent mostly get their news from newspapers and only 14 percent from the Internet.

Only about a fifth of younger news consumers -- all those between 18 and 49 -- say they get their news mostly from newspapers.

The survey also compared usage of the different TV platforms. Thirty-six percent said they got most of their TV news from cable news networks, down from 40 percent in 2008. Twenty-two percent turned mostly to the broadcast networks, down from 24 percent. Sixteen percent said most of their TV news came from local news programming, a number that has been fairly steady over the last three years.


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Tags: internet/net neutrality/piracy, polls, tv
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