Understanding the participatory news consumer


January 18, 2011

According to a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project and the Project for Excellence in Journalism, in the United States the Internet is now a more popular source of news than print newspapers and radio. That makes it the third most popular news platform overall, behind only national and local television news.

The 2010 survey, “Understanding the Participatory News Consumer: How Internet and Cell Phone Users Have Turned News into a Social Experience,” was based on responses from more than 2,000 American adults. Its findings include:

  • Nearly 60% of Americans get daily news from both Internet and print sources.
  • 46% obtained news from four to six media platforms per day, while only 7% get news from a single platform.
  • 33% of cell phone owners access news on their portable phones.
  • 28% of Internet users have a homepage personalized with news sources, and 37% have participated in news creation, commentary and dissemination.

While the Internet is an increasingly popular news source, the survey found that Americans have mixed feelings about it. While more than half say it is easier to keep up with news and information today than it was five years ago, 70% feel overwhelmed by the amount of news and information available. In addition, nearly 75% of respondents have concerns that many news sources are biased in their coverage.

Tags: consumer affairs, news


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Citation: Purcell, Kristen; et al. "Understanding the Participatory News Consumer," Pew Research Center, March, 2010, PDF.