[Air-L] Pew's journalism and internet projects combine on study

Janna Anderson andersj at elon.edu
Mon Mar 1 04:53:23 PST 2010

New @pew_internet and PEJ report on participatory news consumers
http://bit.ly/PewNews. #media #journalism #newspapers #futureofnews

Interesting new report:

Understanding the participatory news consumer
How internet and cell phone users have
turned news into a social experience
By Kristen Purcell, Associate Director, Research for Pew Internet; Lee
Rainie, Director, Pew Internet; Amy Mitchell, Deputy Director, Project for
Excellence in Journalism; Tom Rosenstiel, Director, Project for Excellence
in Journalism; Kenny Olmstead, Research Analyst, Project for Excellence in
The 50-page study is downloadable from Pew site -

Briefly... A national telephone survey of 2,259 adults found the Internet is
at the center of the story of how people¹s relationship to news is changing.
Six in ten Americans (59%) get news from a combination of online and offline
sources on a typical day, and the Internet is now the third most popular
news platform, behind local television news and national television news.

The overwhelming majority of Americans (92%) use multiple platforms to get
their daily news. The Internet is now the third most-popular news platform.
It falls behind local and national television news and ahead of national
print newspapers, local print newspapers and radio. Still, the overall
reality is that the Internet fits into a broad pattern of news consumption
by Americans. Six in ten (59%) get news from a combination of online and
offline sources on a typical day.
Just 7% of American adults get their daily news from a single media
platform, and those who do typically rely on either the Internet or local
television news.   
Amy Mitchell, deputy director for The Pew Research Center¹s Project for
Excellence in Journalism, said Americans have become ³news grazers² both on
and offline. ³They generally don¹t have one favorite website but also don¹t
search aimlessly,² she said. ³Most online news consumers regularly draw on
just a handful of different sites.²
Internet and mobile technologies are changing people¹s relationships to
news. Report authors point out that it is portable, personalized and
participatory. But information is also becoming PERVASIVE, so you can add a
fourth ³P.² We can get it anywhere, anytime if we are hyperconnected through
wireless Internet appliances, and soon, as visual displays become faster,
cheaper, smarter, it is likely to be embedded in the architecture of things
everywhere ­ buildings, bus benches, kitchen countertops. It is an
always-available ocean of information in our hyperconnected
information-augmented (or ambient-information) environment.
The rise of social media like social networking sites and blogs has helped
the news become a social experience for consumers; people use their social
networks and social networking technology to filter, assess and react to
news. They also use traditional e-mail and other tools to swap stories and
comment on them.
³News awareness is becoming an anytime, anywhere, any-device activity for
those who want to stay informed,² said Kristen Purcell, associate director
for research at the Pew Research Center¹s Internet & American Life Project.
³We see new segments of avid news consumers built around those who have set
up news alerts and those who are eager to be part of the news-creation and
news-commentary environment.²
Other main findings from the report:
·     Six in ten American adults (61%) get news online on a typical day, and
71% of Americans get news online at least occasionally.
·     Getting news is an important social act. Some 72% of American news
consumers say they follow the news because they enjoy talking with others
about what is happening in the world and 69% say keeping up with the news is
a social or civic obligation. Moreover, among those who get news online, 75%
get news forwarded through email or posts on social networking sites and 52%
share links to news with others via those means.
·     When getting news online, Americans use just a handful of news sites
and do not have a favorite. The majority of online news consumers (57%)
routinely rely on just two to five websites for their news, and only 35%
have a favorite. 
·     Portal websites like Google News, AOL and Topix are the most commonly
used online news sources, visited by over half of online news users (56%) on
a typical day.  Also faring well are the sites of traditional news
organizations with an offline presence, such as CNN, BBC and local or
national newspapers. Age, political party and ideology all affect an
individual¹s preference for particular online news sources.
·     The 26% of Americans who get news on their cell phones are typically
white males, median age 34, who have graduated from college and are employed
full-time. Overall, cell users under age 50 are almost three times as likely
as their older counterparts to get news on their cell phones (43% v. 15%).
·     Americans have mixed feelings about the current news environment. Over
half (55%) say it is easier to keep up with news and information today than
it was five years ago, but 70% feel the amount of news and information
available from different sources is overwhelming.
·      Americans also have mixed feelings about the quality of news today.
Just under two-thirds (63%) agree with statement that ³major news
organizations do a good job covering all of the important news stories and
subjects that matter to me.² Yet 71% also agree that ³most news sources
today are biased in their coverage.²
This report is based on data from telephone interviews conducted by
Princeton Survey Research International between December 28, 2009, and
January 19, 2010, among a sample of 2,259 adults, 18 and older, who were
contacted on landline and cell phones.  For results based on the total
sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to
sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.
For results based Internet users (n=1,675) and ³online news users² (N=
1,582), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

Janna Quitney Anderson
Director of Imagining the Internet

Associate Professor of Communications
Director of Internet Projects
School of Communications
Elon University
andersj at elon.edu
(336) 278-5733 (o)

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