Monday, August 18, 2008

Survey Shows TV Is Still Main News Source

Fewer Americans are reading newspapers -- they are getting their news online instead -- but television remains the leading source of news in the country, according to the Pew Research Center's biannual survey on news-consumption habits.

Younger people tend to get more of their news on the Internet, while older people use traditional media such as television and newspapers, said the survey, released Sunday.

Pew said the results show an increasing shift toward online news consumption, but that there is now a sizable group of more engaged, sophisticated and well-off people that use both traditional and online sources to get news.

The Pew researchers referred to these people as integrators, and say they account for 23% of those surveyed, spending the most time with the news on a typical day.

"Like Web-oriented news consumers, integrators are affluent and highly educated. However, they are older, on average, than those who consider the Internet their main source of news," the survey said.

Pew found that 46% of those polled have a "heavy reliance" on TV for news at all times of the day. This group is the oldest, with a median age of 52.

The group that relies most on the Internet for news is the youngest, at a median age of 35. It is also the smallest, at 13% of those polled. Fewer than half of them watch TV news on a regular basis. Eighty percent of this group has a college education and they are twice as likely to read an online newspaper as a printed version.

Pew found consumers of online news tend to be more educated than those who get their news from traditional sources, with 44% of college graduates saying they read news online every day. Just 11% of those who topped out with a high-school education go online for news.

The survey polled 3,615 people 18 years old or older by telephone from April 30 to June 1, and has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

Copyright © 2008 Associated Press

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