Online news has become more popular than reading newspapers in the US, according to a survey. It is the third most popular form of news, behind local and national TV stations, the Pew Research Center said. “News awareness is becoming an anytime, anywhere, any device activity for those who want to stay informed,” it said. Newspapers in the US and UK have been going through financial difficulties, leading many to examine charging for their news online. The survey showed that news aggregators such as Google News and AOL were most commonly used, along with the websites of CNN and the BBC.
Sixty-one per cent of readers surveyed said they got their news online on a typical day, compared with 78% from local news channels and 71% from a national TV network such as NBC or cable channels such as CNN or Fox News. Fifty-four per cent said they listened to radio news programmes at home or in the car. More than 90% use more than one method to get news, and 57% consult between two and five websites as part of their newsgathering, the survey found. “Americans have become news grazers both on and offline – but within limits,” said Amy Mitchell, deputy director for the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. “They generally don’t have one favourite website but also don’t search aimlessly. Most online news consumers regularly draw on just a handful of different sites.” Regular readers of newspapers – either local ones or national papers such as the New York Times – have dropped to 50%, the survey said.
Newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic have been going through difficult times as advertising slows and more readers migrate to the internet. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer was among many that closed last year, while the Chicago Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle have gone through huge job cuts. In 2009, the Daily Mail and General Trust cut 1,000 jobs at its regional arm Northcliffe Media, which publishes more than 100 newspapers in England and Wales. Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive of News Corp, also shut down the London Paper and announced that his group of papers will charge for online news. The group owns the Sun, the Times, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, as well as Fox and Sky brands. Mr Murdoch has accused firms such as Google of profiting from journalism by generating advertising revenue by linking readers to newspaper articles. The New York Times will also charge for access to the website by 2011.