Print newspapers and radio are still slipping as sources but U.S. adults are spending more time with news these days when the internet and traditional platforms are combined. The amount of time spent on traditional platforms hasn’t shifted from 57 minutes a day since 2000. Add 13 minutes for internet access and U.S. adults are spending 70 minutes a day on news, according to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press—and that doesn’t include mobile access or other devices. Pew says it is one of the highest amounts since the mid-1990.
Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, calls it “the end of our digital childhood” as the way content is delivered shifts along with the kind of tools being used and expanded access. But the scant mobile-use exploration means this edition of the biennial survey of news consumption doesn’t really measure that expansion.
The biennial survey of news consumption is based on a snapshot of the self-reported behavior of 3,006 U.S. adults interviewed by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between June 8-28 on cell phones and landlines. (Brief tangent: two-thirds were by landline and more than a third of the cellphone subjects have no landlines.)
It’s a large enough sampling to be meaningful overall; as various subsets are considered, the possible variation in results grows. For instance, only 501 adults ages 18-29 were interviewed and only 193 were 25-29. Why am I bothering with the fine print? It’s a reminder that mileage may vary. That said, here are some bits that struck me as I read through the various sections. The full report has much more, including sections on media credibility and the intersection of political leanings and news consumption.
—57 percent regularly get news from at least one internet or digital source. Nearly half go online for news at three days a week.
—48 percent 18-49 get news online. 23 percent read a daily paper.
—About one third get news online daily, twice the amount four years ago.
—10 percent regularly use customized webpages or RSS readers; 9 percent read blogs about politics or current events; 12 percent get news by e-mail; 8 percent by cellphone or smartphone; 1 percent through iPad or tablets.
—44 percent of cellphone users with internet access have downloaded an app for news access.
—27 percent go to news blogs regularly for the latest news and headlines compared with 30 percent for the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times; 29 percent for views and opinions, compared with 11 percent each for the two papers. At least one third said they regularly go to the two papers for in-depth reporting.
—- 256 of the respondents were Twitter users, not enough to get a great picture. Pew says 2 percent get news through Twitter.
—25 percent of adults use DVRs/TiVos to record news programs, slightly more than the same number two years ago.
—Just over a third of those surveyed read a book the day before they were surveyed. Of that 35 percent, 4 percent read an e-book. The same number listened to an audio book. Of the e-book readers, the percentages are small but here’s some anecdotal info: 7 percent with a college degree read a book compared to 2 percent with high school or some college. In the age groups, the highest e-book readership was 6 percent for ages 30-49, followed by 5 percent ages 50-64—and only 2 percent of 18-29.