Toppling some stereotypes about how people get news in the digital age, a major new survey reveals that that the nature of the news itself—the topic and speed of the story—rather than the demographics of the audience largely determines where people go to learn about events and the path they take to get there. The findings suggest that the conventional wisdom—that media consumption is shaped by age or ideology—is overstated and that long-held beliefs about people relying on a few primary sources for their news are now obsolete.
The survey, titled “The Personal News Cycle,” was recently released by the Media Insight Project, an initiative of the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
The findings challenge the notion that one generation depends on print or television to get their news while another relies on the Web and their cellphones. More than 6 in 10 American adults each week get news from television, radio, print, computers or smartphones. The average adult uses four types of media every week, numbers that vary only slightly by age group.