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Nearly One-Half of American Adults Rely on the Internet for Their News

(March 18, 2011) - According to the 2011 State of the News Media report released this week by the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism, 46% of American adults say they get their news from online sources at least three times per week, while only 40% say the same thing about newspapers. In fact, this is the first time in this annual study that online news sources outpaced newspapers. To put this in perspective, approximately 46.1 million adults living in states/territories served by Connected Nation read online newspapers or other news sources.

A related finding from the Pew Internet and American Life Project and the Project for Excellence in Journalism shows that 56% of American adults who own cell phones or mobile devices (or 47% of all American adults) get local news and information on their mobile devices. As is often the case, this survey shows that early adopters of mobile news applications tend to be younger, in the highest income brackets, with the most education, and living in urban or suburban communities. Unlike broadband adoption trends, though, Hispanic adults and non-Hispanic black adults tend to outpace Caucasians in the use of this and other mobile applications. By contrast, a 2009 report by Northwestern University’s Media Management Center reported that only 6% of digital newspaper employees are African American, and 7% are Hispanic. This suggests that there are opportunities for news outlets to diversify their reporting staff to better reflect their readership, especially as online media becomes more and more central to attracting new subscribers.