Yes, traditional news media is dying, but the news part is alive and well and even thriving on a variety of online mediums. Recently a new Pew Research Center study looked at trends around how Americans get their news. What I found most interesting were the results: the impact of digital platforms on traditional news sources. As a former newspaper journalist, I know first-hand that fewer people are reading the paper, but this survey confirms that the public is just getting their news from other sources. And more people are following the news.
The study shows that on a given day Americans spend 57 minutes getting news from television, newspapers and radio. That time has remained constant for the last decade. But the study found people are adding an additional 13 minutes of news consumption gathered from the Web. And the online numbers, as the survey report notes, do not include time spent getting news on cell phones or other digital devices, the arena where news producers are now focusing so much of their effort and seeing so much potential.
Some of the study’s highlights include:
• 83 percent are getting news from a wider variety of sources
• 34 percent of the public say they went online for news – on par with radio and slightly higher than daily newspapers
• When cell phones, email, social networks and podcasts are added in, 44% of Americans say they got news through one or more internet or mobile digital sources
• 26 percent said they read an actual newspaper, down from 38 percent in 2006
• While 26 percent of all Americans say they read a print newspaper, that figure falls to just 8 percent among adults younger than 30
• 37 percent said they got news from a newspaper, including online editions, down from 43 percent in 2006
• 19 percent said they read a magazine, down from 33 percent in 1994
• 75 percent of Americans report getting news from one or more of these mediums: 58 percent watching television news, 34 percent listening to news on the radio, and 26 percent reading a print newspaper. This compares to the 44 percent who got news via the Internet or another digital platform.
What does it mean for the future of our industry? We recently worked with a GroundFloor Media client to get an editorial placed in the online version of a newspaper, and the results were overwhelming. The piece showed up on searches, RSS feeds and was rebroadcast on a variety of sites. Before, we would have simply tried to get it placed in the print publication, and as many of you know, not an easy task given the shrinking newspaper space. But now, we have more, and sometimes better options in the online world. And as this study supports, that’s were people are going for news anyway.
~ Gil Rudawsky