Mobile devices become leading source of news for U.S. adults

The Pew Internet & American Life Project’s latest report reveals that 47 percent of U.S. adults are getting their local news and information via mobile phones or tablet devices. And, it’s not just news they’re accessing on their mobile devices: 42 percent check out weather reports, and 37 percent surf for information on local restaurants and other businesses.

They are also heavy social network users, at 75 percent, compared to 42 percent of other adults; although, only 15 percent use Twitter, which compares with 4 percent of other adults. Nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of these mobile users have downloaded an app to keep up with developments in their community, and 35 percent believe they can exert a significant impact on their community, versus 27 percent of other adults.

It’s no surprise that the demographic of these mobile users skews younger, higher-income and urban-dwelling. Mobile apps are also a growing phenomenon. The profile of the mobile app user is young and Hispanic; these users are much more active news consumers than most other adults. That means they often share or post links to local stories, comment on or tag local news content and contribute their own local content online.

This survey is being released as a part of the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s “State of the News Media 2011” and is based on a national phone survey of 2251 American adults (age 18 or older) in English and Spanish.