Americans turn to the net for their news

The writing may be on the wall for newspapers – or on the screen, at least. A new report from the Pew Internet and American Life project says that online news has taken over from print as the third most popular way for Americans to get their news.

According to the report, the US is pretty fickle in what it reads, with 59 percent of respondents reporting that they get their news from both online and offline sources. Local and national television lead.

A third of cellphone owners get at least some news that way – mostly weather reports – and 37 percent have created, commented on or disseminated news via postings on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter.

“The process Americans use to get news is based on foraging and opportunism. They seem to access news when the spirit moves them or they have a chance to check up on headlines,” says the report.

“At the same time, gathering the news is not entirely an open-ended exploration for consumers, even online where there are limitless possibilities for exploring news.”

Most people say they use between two and five news sources when online, and two thirds say they don’t have a single favorite. Only 21 percent say they routinely rely on just one site for their news and information.

The most popular topics are the weather, national events and health. Nearly half said they’s like to see more on scientific news and discoveries (we aim to please), and 41 percent cited religion and spirituality.

It’s not all good for the consumer, though. While over half of respondents said they found it easier to keep up with news now than five years ago, 70 percent said they found the sheer volume overwhelming.

When it comes to the accuracy of news, conservatives and Republicans are most likely to think they’re being misled. It’s a fairly universal perception, though, with 72 percent of respondents overall believing that most news sources today are biased in their coverage.

What rubbish. It would never happen under a Republican government.