August 13, 2013
Fifty percent of the public now cites the Internet as a main source for national and international news, up from 43 percent in 2011, says the Pew Research Center’s biennial survey of attitudes toward news media. By comparison, in its 2001 survey 45 percent said newspapers were their main source for news, and just 13 percent cited the Internet.
Today, television is still the public’s top news source (69 percent), with far fewer citing newspapers (28 percent) or radio (23 percent). Survey respondents were allowed to choose up to two main sources for news.
Although the public’s view of news organizations on key measures such as accuracy, fairness and independence remains near all-time lows, broad majorities still say the press serves as a watchdog to prevent political leaders from committing misdeeds. More say that news organizations protect (48 percent) rather than hurt democracy (35 percent).
A slim majority (54 percent) says journalists are more important today than in the past because they help make sense of all the information available, while 38 percent say journalists are less important now because people can get information without their help.
The Internet has become the main source for national and international news for those under the age of 50, while for those 50 and older, television remains the dominant source for news, Pew found. — Greg Beaubien