Americans Turn to Web for News
A survey has revealed that the American public is shunning traditional media such as newspapers and TV as their primary source of news. The Internet has become the main channel of information for nearly half (48 per cent) of Americans - an increase of 8 per cent from one year ago.
The poll by We Media/Zogby Interactive, showed how the so-called ‘digital natives’ are most likely to name the Internet as their favoured source. The majority (55 per cent) of those aged between 18 and 29 say they get most of the news online compared to those aged 65 and above. In the latter age group the Internet is the second most popular (35 per cent) destination for news, slightly behind television (38 per cent).
Television was said to be 29 per cent of all respondent’s primary source of news followed by radio (11 per cent) and newspapers (10 per cent). Again, age was a differentiator in the consumption of newspapers. Twice as many as those over the age of 65 said newspapers were their main source of news compared to those between the ages of 18 and 29. Seventeen per cent of those over the age of 65 sourced their news from newspapers compared to only 7 per cent in the lower age bracket.
A similar survey by comScore conducted during the summer of 2007, also found that age was a factor in media consumption. Respondents aged 65 and over were almost three times more likely to be heavy print newspaper readers than the average respondent. Those ages 18 to 24 were 38 per cent more likely to not read a print newspaper during a typical week.
The Zogby Interactive survey also showed that websites were regarded as a more important source of news and information than traditional channels. 86 per cent of Americans said websites were an important source of news in comparison with television (77 per cent), radio (74 per cent) and newspapers (70 per cent). However, it was found that blogs still have some catching up to do if they are to be perceived as a credible news source. Only 38 per cent of respondents claimed blogs were an important news portal.
The Internet also faired best when it came to trustworthiness. Websites were cited as more trustworthy than traditional media sources. Nearly a third (32%) said Internet sites are their most trusted source for news and information, followed by newspapers (22%), television (21%) and radio (15%).
The Zogby Interactive survey of 1,979 US adults took place in February 2008. According to Andrew Nachison co-founder of media think tank, iFOCOS, traditional news sources need to rethink their news agendas in order to make their stories more relevant to changing audiences.
"For the second year in a row we have documented a crisis in American journalism that is far more serious than the industry’s business challenges - or maybe a consequence of them," said Nachison.
"Americans recognise the value of journalism for their communities, and they are unsatisfied with what they see. While the U.S. news industry sheds expenses and frets about its future, Americans are dismayed by its present. Meanwhile, we see clearly the generational shift of digital natives from traditional to online news - so the challenge for traditional news companies is complex. They need to invest in new products and services - and they have. But they’ve also got to invest in quality, influence and impact. They need to invest in journalism that makes a difference in people’s lives. That’s a moral and leadership challenge - and a business opportunity for whoever can meet it," he continued.