The most recent installment of the weekly News Interest Index, an ongoing project of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, has a not so surprising finding: The internet, which emerged this year as a leading source for campaign news, has now surpassed all other media except television as a main source for national and international news.
According to the report, 40% of the respondents said they get most of their news about national and international issues from the internet, up from just 24% in September 2007. For the first time in a Pew survey, more people say they rely mostly on the internet for news than cite newspapers (35%). Television continues to be cited most frequently as a main source for national and international news, at 70%.
For young people, however, the internet now rivals television as a main source of national and international news. Nearly six-in-ten Americans younger than 30 (59%) say they get most of their national and international news online; an identical percentage cites television. In September 2007, twice as many young people said they relied mostly on television for news than mentioned the internet (68% vs. 34%).
The percentage of people younger than 30 citing television as a main news source has declined from 68% in September 2007 to 59% currently. This mirrors a trend seen earlier this year in campaign news consumption.
The survey also reveals there has been little change in the individual TV news outlets that people rely on for national and international news. Nearly a quarter of the public (23%) says they get most of their news from CNN, while 17% cite Fox News; smaller shares mention other cable and broadcast outlets.
Newspapers are feeling the defection to their core. Given the recent Chapter 11 filing by the Tribune Company my hometown paper The Chicago Tribune as well as the Cubs and the friendly confines of Wrigley Field (among other assets) may soon have new owners, forever changing the heart and soul of the city I still call home.
I find myself turning to the internet and television to keep informed on current events more often now, but I still enjoy doing my daily newspaper crosswords as well as the lazy Sunday mornings spent reading through the paper. I would surely miss those familiar routines if newspapers were to go the way of the dinosaurs.