Less than 4/10 Americans rely purely on offline media

Kirk LaPointe’s media blog points us towards this report by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, which takes a look at news consumption in the United States.

Bearing in mind that the whole death of print trend is arguably more advanced in the US than in the UK or Australia, it’s worth a look.   Key points:

  • The young are least likely to be regular news consumers.  35% of 18-29 year olds follow the news all or most of the time.   For people aged 65+ that rises to 70%
  • However, it’s impossible to blank out the news completely and 99% of Americans do admit to getting news, at least casually in some shape or form.   Local (78%) and national (73%) TV leads, followed by the Internet (61%).   By contrast, 50% read a local paper, 54% listen to the radio, while 17% read a ‘national’ newspaper (the latter stat would be different in say the UK, due to the stronger position of national newspapers)
  • News is also consumed across several channels simultaneously, 46% of Americans use between four of the six news platforms


The report also looks at Internet news consumption in more detail.    Less than four in ten (38%) Americans rely solely on news from offline sources, the majority (59%) rely on both on and offline sources, while 2% only get their news online.   It’s worth remembering however that ‘offline’ includes TV and radio as well as print.

Tying into some of the stats mentioned above, the research found that online news consumers were by and large both better educated and younger than the average.    So, the median age of all news consumers was 58, but for people who get their news online it was 40.

Finally, and this is a stat we mentioned in the recent ‘Rabbit Feed’ (our weekly newsletter over at Rabbit), news is now much more of a social phenomenon.   Three quarters (75%) of adults that get their news online say they get it forwarded to them through email or social media.

And it works in a virtuous circle.   News gets forwarded online via social media from people who at the same time deepen their engagement with the news.  97% of American social network users read the news online, and 51% of that 97% get news forwarded onto them via friends on places like Facebook on a typical day.

Strengthening the role of Twitter as a network that has influence and importance beyond its 10-15 million worldwide active user base, it’s also worth noting that the study found that 99% of Twitter users are online news consumers.

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