Television is the main place Americans say they turn to for news about current events (55 per cent), leading the Internet, at 21 per cent. Nine per cent say newspapers or other print publications are their main news source, followed by radio, at 6 per cent, according to a Gallup poll.
More than half the references to television are general, with 26 per cent simply saying they watch television or TV news, 4 per cent saying they watch local TV news, and 2 per cent saying they watch the “evening news.” The two leading 24-hour cable news channels – Fox News and CNN – are named by 8 per cent and 7 per cent, respectively. However, no other specific channel – including MSNBC, PBS, BBC, and all of the US broadcast networks that once dominated the news landscape – is mentioned by more than 1 per cent of Americans.
The vast majority of those citing the Internet – 18 per cent of all Americans – either mention the Internet generally or say they get their news “online.” Two per cent identify Facebook, Twitter, or social media as their source, while 1 per cent mention a specific online news site.
If the current media preferences of young adults are any indicator of the future, the data offer good news for TV, but bad news for print media. Half of adults aged 18 to 29 and half aged 30 to 49 identify television as their main source of news. This is nearly double the rate for the Internet even among these more tech-savvy populations. However, it does differ from older generations who put relatively more emphasis on TV and less on the Internet.
At the same time, heavy reliance on print is exclusive to seniors, among whom 18 per cent cite newspapers or other print publications as their main source of news. By contrast, 6 per cent to 8 per cent of younger age groups rely on print.
Few adults of any age say their main source of news is radio. While many Americans certainly tune in to radio for entertainment as well as talk radio, it is clearly not the place most turn for hard news about current events.