News consumption in the U.S. is on the rise again thanks to the availability of news on online and mobile channels.
A survey of 3,006 adults found that while consumption of traditional news has decreased modestly (less than a third said they’d read a newspaper the day before, compared nearly half a decade earlier, while consumption of radio news fell from 43% to 31%, and TV remained steady), the number of people who claimed to have gotten news from an online source in the last 24 hours rose from 24% to 31% over the last decade — 44% if you include mobile devices, e-mail, social networks and podcasts. Only 9% said they received news from Internet and mobile alone.
Online news is not replacing other traditional news forms (three quarters of those surveyed said they got their news yesterday from traditional media, and 36% said they absorbed news on both digital and traditional platforms) so much as providing additional outlets. As Americans adopt new technologies for accessing news, they consume more of it.
The availability of news online and on mobile devices does not mean that more people are ingesting news — 17% of Americans still do not access news on a daily basis, the same as a decade earlier, the report found. Rather, those who already consumed news are simply consuming more of it.
Although one might expect the younger demographic to be fueling the increase in online news consumption, it’s actually those in the 30-64 age range that are pushing the growth. Fourty-four percent of those between 50 and 64 said they got news through one or more digital outlets yesterday, comparable to the 18-29 group at 48%. Unsurprisingly, only 23% of those 65 and older said they had accessed an online news source the day before.
Printed newspapers experienced the sharpest decline in news readership over the past decade. Only one in four of those surveyed said they’d read a printed newspaper the day before, down from 30% two years ago and 38% in 2005. The number of online newspaper readers continues to grow, however, offsetting the overall decline in readership. Seventeen percent said they had read something on a newspaper’s website yesterday, up from 13% in 2008 and 9% in 2006, meaning that collective readership is situated at 37%, just two percentage points less than two years ago, but down 6% from 2006.
However, these numbers do not acknowledge those who accessed newspaper content indirectly through secondary sources, such as blogs, aggregators or search engines.