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Study: TV Remains Primary News Source for Most Americans, But Internet Gains Ground

paul ruddThe majority of Americans still rely on television as their primary news source, but, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, the Internet is gaining ground. In a Pew national survey, 66-percent of all Americans cited TV as their main source for national and international news, down from 74-percent three years ago, and 82-percent in 2002. The Internet, meanwhile, is the primary news source for 41-percent of Americans, up by 17 points since 2007. Newspapers, not surprisingly, continue to decline, with 31-percent of Americans relying on them for news, compared to 34-percent in 2007.

Pew's demographic breakdown reveals some interesting if not entirely shocking differences across generational lines. In 2010, the Internet surpassed television as the go-to news source among people between 18 and 29 years of age. This year, 65-percent of 18- to 29-year olds claimed they had gotten the majority of their news from the Web, compared to just 34-percent in 2007. Over that same time period, television has declined among young news junkies, from 68-percent to 52-percent. Television still dominates as the number one source for people between the ages of 30 and 49, but Pew says the Internet is on pace to equal or surpass it within the next few years.

News consumption habits seem to vary across socioeconomic demographics, as well. Households with an income of over $75,000 are about as likely to get the lion's share of their news from the Web (54-percent) as they are from TV (57-percent). But people making less than $30,000 a year are noticeably more likely to use television to get informed. Just 34-percent of lower-income households use the Internet for news, compared with 72-percent who rely on TV. And, as you'd expect, these consumption patterns persist across education levels, as well. Just 29-percent of consumers with a high school education or less cite the Web as their primary news source, compared with 51-percent of college grads.

Tags: demographics, Internet, media, news, newspaper, pew, PewResearchCenter, radio, study, top, tv, web