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Survey: More Americans get news from Internet than newspapers or radio

By Doug Gross, CNN
Social networking sites like Facebook have made news a more participatory experience, the survey suggests.
Social networking sites like Facebook have made news a more participatory experience, the survey suggests.
  • Six out of 10 Americans get news from the Internet, survey says
  • Online news is now more popular than newspapers or radio
  • Pew Internet report also says people's online news experience is a social, interactive one
  • Most people said they have from two to five main news sources online

(CNN) -- More Americans get their news from the Internet than from newspapers or radio, and three-fourths say they hear of news via e-mail or updates on social media sites, according to a new report.

Sixty-one percent of Americans said they get at least some of their news online, according to a survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

That's compared with 54 percent who said they listen to a radio news program and 50 percent who said they read a national or local print newspaper.

Almost all respondents, 92 percent, said they get their news from more than one platform.

"In the digital era, news has become omnipresent. Americans access it in multiple formats on multiple platforms on myriad devices," reads the report, based on a survey conducted in December and January. "The days of loyalty to a particular news organization on a particular piece of technology in a particular form are gone."

Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have made news a more participatory experience than ever before, the survey suggests.

People share links to news stories by e-mail, post articles on their Facebook and other networking feeds and tweet them on Twitter -- often following up by discussing the articles on message boards and other sites.

Seventy-five percent of respondents said they get news forwarded through e-mail or posts on social networking sites, while 37 percent of online users said they've reported news, commented on a story or shared it on sites like Facebook and Twitter, the survey said.

"To a great extent, people's experience of news, especially on the Internet, is becoming a shared social experience ... ," reads the report. "[T]he advent of social media like social networking sites and blogs has helped the news become a social experience in fresh ways for consumers."

Most people said they use between two and five online news sources, and 65 percent said they don't have a single favorite Web site for news.

When looking for news online, people said they're most often seeking information about a common topic: the weather.

Eighty-one percent said they search for weather information online, followed by national news at 73 percent. Just over half -- 52 percent -- said they look for sports news, while 47 percent said they look for entertainment or celebrity news.

Online news users are generally younger than the average population, according to Pew. About two-thirds of the study's online news users were younger than 50, and nearly 30 percent were younger than 30.

Racially, that group is more white and Hispanic than the national average, while half of non-Hispanic black respondents said they get all of their news from offline sources.

Only television news still outpaces the Internet, with 78 percent of respondents saying they watch local news and 73 percent saying they view a national network or cable news channel like CNN, Fox News or MSNBC.

The report was based on a daily tracking survey of 2,259 adults age 18 or older. The margin of error for all respondents is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points -- 2.7 percentage points for Internet users. A combination of land line and cellular numbers was used in the survey.