Majority Of Digital News Consumers Turn To Web-Native Sources

October 8, 2012

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Mobile Phone | Social Media | Youth & Gen X

A slight majority of digital news consumers get their information from web-native sources like the Huffington Post or the Drudge Report, while 43% use digital versions of established news sources (e.g., the New York Times, CNN), according to research conducted for The New York Times by Knowledge Networks and reported by Poynter in October 2012. Some 19% of digital news consumers rely upon search engines like Google and Bing as news sources, and 15% use social media to get their news fix.

Interestingly, the behavior differs strongly by the user’s preferred device. A computer user is most inclined toward web-native sources (64%), followed by established news sources (39%), search engines (20%), and social media (11%). Tablet users will choose established news sources first (56%), followed by web-native news (39%), social media (14%) and search engines (13%). A smartphone user’s first choice: Established news sources (62%), followed by web-native news (36%), social media (23%) and search engines (15%).

Unsurprisingly, Millennials (35%) are far more likely to use social media as a news source than are Generation X (23%) or Baby Boomers (11%). Also true, mobile users are more likely to get news from social media, with 30% using Facebook for news versus 18% of non-mobile users.

Mobile News Consumers Use Multiple Sources

However strong their preference for a mobile device, a mobile news reader will use multiple sources of news, finds the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) in survey results released in October 2012. For example, 54% of tablet news users also get news on smartphones. 77% get news on a desktop or laptop, and 50% get news in print. A quarter get news on all four platforms. Among smartphone news users, 47% still get news in print, while 75% get news on a laptop or desktop device and 28% get news on a tablet.

Also true, news consumers are not simply redistributing their consumption across online and offline sources; rather, they are consuming more news. Some 43% of respondents say the news they get on their tablets, for example, adds to their overall news consumption. Nearly a third report that they get news from new sources on their tablet.

About The Data: The New York Times/Knowledge Network data came from an online survey this spring by Knowledge Networks of 3,022 U.S. residents 18 to 65, weighted to match the general population. 85% of respondents qualified as “news consumers” who get some kind of news at least a few times a week.

The Pew report is based on a survey conducted by Knowledge Networks among a random sample of households between June 29 and August 8, 2012, of a sample of 9513 US adults aged 18 or older, including 2,013 who own and use a tablet computer and 3,947 who own a smartphone.

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