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Study: Campaign News Spikes Media Diversity, Including Print Newspapers

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The presidential election has brought up news consumption in all media -- including print newspapers. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

The presidential election has brought up news consumption in all media — including print newspapers. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Since January, nearly every news platform – from print to Internet – has seen a massive increase in people looking to follow campaign news.

When asked which sources of campaign news had been “most useful,” nearly half of Americans named television in one of its various forms. Cable news was first on that list, named as the most useful source by 24 percent. And a little more than a quarter volunteered various forms of the Internet, while a third as many named local or national newspapers (8 percent) or radio (6 percent).

The numbers portrayed in this Pew Research Center study indicated just how diverse the outlets are for consumers to catch up on campaign news.

In this diverse landscape, no platform dominates as the place for politics, and the vast majority of Americans say they regularly rely on multiple platforms to get political information. Just 6 percent said they turn regularly to just one platform.

Cable news channels continue to have the furthest reach, but a number of other destinations are close. Currently, 41 percent of Americans say they regularly learn about the candidates or the campaign from cable news networks, up five percentage points from 36 percent during the primaries.

That is now nearly matched by the Internet, which has seen an increase of 11 points in the number of Americans who say they regularly turn to it for campaign news since the year began.

Overall, 36 percent of Americans say they regularly get election news there, up from 25 percent in January.

Local and national newspapers have also seen their audiences grow. Altogether, 30 percent say they regularly read one of these two types of newspapers for campaign news; 23 percent regularly turn to their local daily newspapers, up from 20 percent in January; 13 percent turn to national newspapers, up from 8 percent in January.

These are among the findings of a new survey of Americans about how they are learning about the election conducted Oct. 18-21 among 1,005 adults nationwide by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The Pew Research Center traditionally asks Americans about their sources of campaign news at the beginning of each presidential election. Back in January, those surveys found that with contested primaries in just one party, the long-term declines seen in several traditional sources such as newspapers, local TV and network news had steepened.

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