Pew Research Center

10 facts about the changing digital news landscape – via Pew Research Center

Digital news continues to evolve, pushed by a variety of innovations in recent years, from groundbreaking new technologies like virtual reality and automated reporting to experiments on social platforms that have altered campaign coverage. Here are 10 key findings (we will show three below) from recent Pew Research Center surveys and analyses that show how these rapid digital shifts are reshaping Americans’ news habits:

  • About four-in-ten Americans now often get news online. Digital is currently second only to TV news as the most prominent news platform
  • Mobile is becoming a preferred device for digital news. The portion of Americans who ever get news on a mobile device has gone up from 54% in 2013 to 72% today
  • Long-form journalism has a place in today’s mobile-centric society


Editor’s Note: the data and insights provided here are only a small part of Pew’s report. Pew has been conducting media research on “Consumers & News” for decades. The Modern News Consumer Source: Pew Research Center, Journalism & Media


Wave after wave of digital innovation has introduced a new set of influences on the public’s news habits. Social media, messaging apps, texts and email provide a constant stream of news from people we’re close to as well as total strangers.

News stories can now come piecemeal, as links or shares, putting less emphasis on the publisher. And hyper levels of immediacy and mobility can create an expectation that the news will come to us whether we look for it or not. How have these influences shaped Americans’ appetite for and attitudes toward the news? What, in other words, are the defining traits of the modern news consumer?

In 2016, Americans express a clear preference for getting their news on a screen – though which screen that is varies. TV remains the dominant screen, followed by digital. Still, TV news use is dramatically lower among younger adults, suggesting further shake-ups to come.

Personal contacts are also a common source of news and can play an amplified role online. But Americans see clear distinctions between news organizations, friends and family, and more distant individuals.

Few have a lot of confidence in the information they get from professional outlets or friends and family, but large majorities have at least some trust in both; social media gets substantially lower trust scores.

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Pew: Smartphones Top Computers for 18-29 Year Old Consumers

John Eggerton, reporting for Broadcasting & Cable, provides highlights from a recent Pew Research Center report, “Technology Device Ownership.”  For the first time since Pew has been tracking device ownership, more young adults, 18-29 years old, own a smartphone (86%) than own a computer (78%).  Tablet ownership has also shown strong growth with young adults, rising to 50% in 2015.

Smartphone ownership for adults 18-49 and adults in higher income levels are close to “saturation adoption.”  The report did not find smartphone ownership differences by race or ethnic group.

Of the seven devices included in the Pew surveys, cell phones, including smartphones, are the most commonly owned device among all U.S. adults at 92%, followed by computers at 73%, smartphones at 68%, tablets at 45%, MP3 players at 40%, game consoles also at 40%, E-book readers at 19%, and portable gaming devices at 14%.

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