Internet Surpasses Newspapers as News Source, Ties with Television

It was bound to happen: The Internet is now officially tied for being the top news source of people ages 18 to 29. It’s neck-in-neck with television within the 18 to 29 group — and, for the first time, it’s preferred over newspapers among adults of all ages.

The Big Picture

The data comes from a Pew Research Center study released this week. The report finds that overall, 40 percent of people say they rely primarily on the Internet for national and international news. That’s a huge jump from the 24 percent of people relying on the Web just one year earlier. For all age groups, 35 percent of people listed newspapers as their main news source, and 70 percent said they rely on TV.

You can see in this graph just how significant the Internet’s growth has been, compared to the generally steady decline of the other media forms:

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The “Young” Demographic

It’s when you look just at the “young” demographic of 18 to 29, however, that things get even more extreme. In that group, the Internet and TV tied for 59 percent of respondents, while newspapers took only 28 percent. (Participants were allowed to select more than one answer.) And with the relative rate of growth outlined below, it only seems logical that the Net will become the dominant entity within the next year.

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Important Stories

The Pew study also looked at the stories that were most important to people over 2008. Not surprisingly, economic and political issues dominate the top 15, with weather-related stories snagging a good share of spots as well.

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(Images courtesy Pew Research Center)