Search Engines Leading Online News Sources

September 28, 2011

pew-internet-news-search-first-sep-2011.JPGAmong all internet users, search engine sites were the most popular place to look for news about a story or topic, with 21% citing Google and 14% citing Yahoo, according to data released in September 2011 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. CNN is the most popular news-organization website for searching, overall, offered by 13% of all internet news users.

Among those whose last news searches took them first to a favorite news organization, CNN tops the list, with 22% citing it, followed by local news sites (13%). Yahoo and Fox also are popular options (10% each). Among those who went first to a site with links to other sites, Google was the most popular first destination, with more than a third naming it (35%), followed by Yahoo at 17%.

Most Want Online News sans Political Viewpoint

pew-online-news-political-sep-2011.JPGPew data reveals more than six in 10 Americans (63%) say they prefer news sources with no particular point of view, while 29% prefer sources that have a political point of view. The preference for news without a political point of view is even stronger when it comes to online news: 74% of those who get news online want it to come without a political point of view, while just 19% prefer online sources that have a point of view.

Even when the public has been asked whether they want news from their point of view, the clear preference is that the news have no particular point of view. In Pew Research’s 2010 media consumption survey, 62% said they wanted news with no particular point of view while just 25% wanted news from their point of view.

1 in 4 Get News from SocNets

pew-social-news-sep-2011.JPGAbout a quarter (27%) of adults say they regularly or sometimes get news or news headlines through Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites. This rises to 38% of people younger than 30, but now spans a notable share of older Americans (12% of those 65 and older) as well.

Most of those who get news from social networks (72%) say they mostly just get the same news and information they would get elsewhere. Just 27% say the news they get over social networking sites is different than the news they get elsewhere. And when asked to describe what they like about getting news over social networks and Twitter, answers range from features of the technology such as speed, portability and brevity to ways in which the content is more customized, personal and topical.

More See Local than Natl News Sources Shrinking

When asked about the number of news sources available, 37%of respondents say the number of national news sources is growing while far fewer (13%) see the number of sources as shrinking; 47% say the number is staying the same. However, about as many say the number of local news sources is shrinking (21%) as growing (19%); 55% say the number is staying the same.

Those younger than 30 are much more likely to say the number of national news sources is growing (47%) than are those 65 and older (29%). Pew analysis suggests this may be related to young people’s greater reliance on the internet for national news.

TV Still Top News Source

The public’s top two sources of news remain TV and the internet, according to other study findings. Two-thirds of Americans (66%) say TV is where they get most of their news about national and international events, while 43% say they turn to the internet. About three in 10 Americans (31%) say they get most of their national and international news from newspapers. Radio was a distant fourth choice, with 19% saying they turned to it for news. (People were allowed to name up to two sources).

About the Data: Some of the analysis in thePew report is based on telephone interviews of US adults 18 and older conducted by Princeton Data Source from June 23-26, 2011, July 21-24, 2011, and August 4-7, 2011.

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