Americans consume more news; TV remains prevalent medium

The time Americans spend consuming news is up compared to time spent with news consumption over the past decade, and TV news viewing remains strong.

Those are two important findings of the biennial news consumption survey from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. According to findings released Sept. 12, Americans are spending 70 minutes per day with the news.

TV news led the pack, accounting for 32 minutes of time spent consuming news, followed by radio news with 15 minutes, online news with 13 minutes and reading print newspapers with 10 minutes.

According to Pew, consuming news on digital platforms is having an impact on total time spent with the news media, often supplementing time spent with traditional media. In fact, digital platforms have propelled total time spent with the news media to a level higher than a decade ago.

The survey also found that highly educated and middle-aged Americans are responsible in large part for the increase in news consumption. Pew found that people with post-graduate degrees increased their consumption of news from the 81 minutes consumed daily in 2008 to 96 minutes this year. They also are big consumers of online news, with 69 percent turning to a digital source for news.

Similarly, the survey revealed that those aged 40 to 49 increased news consumption eight minutes to a total of 74 minutes daily, and those 50 to 64 years of age increased their time with news by six minutes to a daily total of 81 minutes.

The survey also found that while digital platforms are supplementing how Americans consume news, they largely are not attracting new news consumers. Despite the availability of traditional media and new digital platforms, such as cell phones, social networks, RSS feeds and other vehicles, 17 percent of Americans say they are not regular consumers of news, a percentage that has held steady for years, Pew said.

TV remains at the top of list of news sources, the survey found. Fifty-eight percent of Americans told Pew they watched TV news or a news program the day before survey, a small change from the past decade. Internet news consumption is growing with 34 percent saying they got their news online the day before, compared to 29 percent in 2008.

Pew conducted the survey June 8-28 on cell phones and landlines among 3006 adults.

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.