Social Media Tops Newspapers as Preferred Source of News

In a new first, social media platforms have surpassed traditional print newspapers as the preferred news source for adults in the United States. According to a new Pew Research Center report, American adults turn to social media more than newspapers, but not more than they prefer other news sources such as television and radio. While the percentages of those who preferred social media were about equal to those who opted for newspapers last year, Pew found that 20 percent of U.S. adults now get their news from social platforms, compared to 16 percent who prefer newspapers.

“The change comes at a time when newspaper circulation is on the decline, and its popularity as a news medium is being phased out — particularly with younger generations,” reports TechCrunch.

“In fact, the report noted that print only remains popular today with the 65 and up crowd, where 39 percent get their news from newspapers. By comparison, no more than 18 percent of any other age group does.”

Pew discovered that television remains the most popular medium for news, “followed by news websites, radio and then social media and newspapers,” notes TechCrunch, adding that “local news is the most popular, with 37 percent getting their news there often. Meanwhile, 30 percent get cable TV news often and 25 percent watch the national evening news shows often.”

Not surprisingly, 81 percent of U.S. consumers 65 and older — and 65 percent of those ages 50 to 64 — get their news from television, while a mere 16 percent of those 18 to 29 do the same.

The younger cord-cutters and cord-nevers prefer digital options over TV and print (27 percent prefer news websites and 36 percent opt for social media).

“Younger Americans are also unique in that they don’t rely on one platform in the way that the majority of their elders rely on TV,” explained Pew researcher Elisa Shearer. “No more than half of those ages 18 to 29 and 30 to 49 get news often from any one news platform.”

The latest figures are a result of Pew’s survey conducted this summer July 30 through August 12.