This just in from the files of things you already probably know: The Internet has officially outpaced television as the primary way young people consume their news.
The Pew Research Center reports that 65 percent of people under 30 cite the Internet as their primary news source, a number that’s nearly doubled from 2007, when 34 percent said the same thing. Over the same period, the percentage of young adults citing television as their main new source dropped from 68 percent to 52 percent. Comparatively, 48 percent of adults ages 30-49 report internet as their major source of news, 34 percent of those ages 50-64, and 14 percent of those 65 and older.
But what is most interesting about this data are the differences in media consumption among races, classes, and political parties. White and Hispanic respondents relied on television and internet in similar patterns: 64 percent of whites relied on the Internet most while 41 percent of whites relied on television the most; 66 percent and 45 percent for Hispanics, respectively. (Respondents could list up to two primary news sources, which means numbers didn’t add up to 100 percent.)
Over 20 percent more black respondents, however, cited television as their main news source (86 percent), with 35 percent relying primarily on the Internet. This is interesting, considering it’s been well-documented that black people are particularly active on social networking sites like Twitter. About a quarter of Twitter’s users are black, twice their share of the general population.
The income level and educational attainment categories paint a fuller picture of the trends around news. A striking pattern holds true in both areas: The more educated and higher-income you are, the more likely you are to get most of your news from the Internet, and the less likely you are to do the same from television. Political affiliation seems to be tied to news consumption, as well, with Republicans and Independents (18 percent) relying more heavily on radio than Democrats (12 percent), likely because right-wing radio hosts like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh dominate the talk radio market. Republicans are slightly less likely to get news from the Internet (38 percent) or newspapers (29 percent) than Democrats and Independents, while all three groups rely on television to roughly similar extents.
Because the medium can so influence the message, so to speak, where different groups are sourcing news is an important area of research. The Internet, with its fast pace, plethora of news blogs, and the relative decentralization and diffusion of its authors and reporters carries content unlike that of TV, radio, newspapers, or magazines. Each medium, of course, has its pros and cons, potentially influencing users’ interpretation and understanding of the news. Predictably, the Pew Center says it expects to see the Internet continue to become an increasingly important source of news for all folks — what’s left to consider is how the hallmarks of that medium will define the content, substance, and shape of our news.
This post was originally published by Campus Progress.