Television Remains Primary News Source for Many Americans

According to a new Gallup poll, in which Americans were asked what they consider to be their main source of news about domestic and global events, 55 percent indicated television is their primary resource, while 21 percent said they mainly use the Internet. Nine percent said newspapers or other print publications, followed by radio at 6 percent. This poll marks the first time Gallup has measured Americans’ media habits with this open-ended question.

Half of adults aged 18 to 49 identified television as their main source of news. “The two leading 24-hour cable news channels — Fox News and CNN — are named by 8 percent and 7 percent, respectively,” notes Gallup. No other specific networks were mentioned by more than 1 percent of respondents.

The majority of those who turn to the Internet simply stated they get their news “online,” although 2 percent specified Facebook, Twitter or social media as their source.

“The New York Times and Wall Street Journal are each named by 1 percent of Americans — the only specific print publications to earn as much as 1 percent in the poll,” explains the release.

Key takeaways of the poll, according to Gallup:

Americans have an abundance of sources at their disposal for acquiring news, and accordingly, Gallup received various answers when asking respondents what they consider to be their main source. Still, the television medium leads all others, and by a wide margin over the Internet, while print and radio lag well behind. This does not mean Americans get no news from print, radio, or to a lesser degree the Internet; just that relatively few see these as their main source.

The poll also documents the balkanization of news, primarily based on politics, but also to a lesser degree by age and education. Republicans have a strong orientation toward Fox News and Democrats lean somewhat more toward CNN and various other news outlets. Younger Americans seek out Internet news more than other age groups, and highly educated Americans tend more than other groups to get their news the old-fashioned way, reading a newspaper or magazine.