Friday, January 16, 2009

Internet Overtakes Newspapers As News Outlet

Internet Overtakes Newspapers As News Outlet
The internet, which emerged this year as a leading source for campaign news, has now surpassed all other media except television as an outlet for national and international news.

Currently, 40% say 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%).

Top News Stories of 2008
While the 2008 presidential campaign attracted high levels of public attention, the economy was the top story of the year in terms of news interest, according to Pew's Weekly News Interest Index. In late September, as the nation's financial crisis deepened, 70% said they were following news about the economy very closely. That ranks among the highest levels of news interest for any story in the past two decades.

News about gas prices, both rising and falling, also attracted considerable public attention. In early June, two-thirds of Americans (66%) said they were tracking news about the rising price of gasoline very closely.

The rising price of gasoline was the top news story in 2007, but far fewer followed news about rising gas prices very closely (52% in May). This year, the falling price of gas also drew broad interest (53% very closely in October).

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