Internet chomps TV as No. 1 news source for young adults

By Helen A.S. Popkin Technotica columnist/technology and science editor

Continuing its consumption of old-timey media, the Internet became the No. 1 news source for young adults in 2010, according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

Television still reigns across age groups combined, with 65 percent overall citing the living room standby as their main source for current events, but the olds are increasingly turning to the Internet as well. In a national phone survey conducted Dec. 1-5, 41 percent of the 1,500 adult participants said they get their national and international news from the Internet, up 17 points since 2007. It’s a trend that’s likely to continue, Pew reports.

“Since 2007, the number of 18 to 29 year olds citing the Internet as their main source has nearly doubled, from 34 to 65 percent,” the study found.

In the next few years, the Internet is likely to to equal or pass TV as the main sources for people aged 30 to 49 as well, Pew forecasts. “Currently, 48 percent say the Internet is their main source — up 16 points from 2007 — and 63 percent cite television — down eight points.”

In the 50 to 64 age range, the Internet is nearly equal to newspapers as a main news source (38 percent), though TV is still number one at 71 percent.

Since 2007, the Internet crept up (from 5 percent to 14 percent) as a main news source for people 65 and older. Overall however, there isn’t much change for how this age group gets it’s news — currently 47 percent from newspapers and 79 percent from TV.

Despite the Internet’s rise, radio maintains its humble position. Considering you can’t watch the Internet while driving (safely, anyway), it’s unsurprising that radio continues to hold steady in recent years, with 16 percent currently citing it as a main news source.

As “traditional” news sources continue to crowdsource social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to help report stories, as well as spread their headlines, more people continue to cite the Internet over newspapers as their main source of news, “reflecting both the growth of the Internet, and the gradual decline in newspaper readership (from 34 percent  in 2007 to 31 percent now,” the study found.

If you’ve clicked more than one link to a news story from Facebook and Twitter just today, you’ve got a pretty clear indication on the where you’ll be getting more of your news in the future.

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