It’s Official: Social Media Has Surpassed Newspapers to Become the Top News Source
Social media has officially surpassed newspapers as the top news source, as a recent Pew Research Center poll revealed. That’s right! While television news still remains the top consumer source, these days, more and more adults are turning to social media platforms with their newsfeeds and other news websites to receive their daily dose of what’s happening in the world.
This is the first time that social media has surpassed print news as a primary news source since. In the 2018 study, a surprising 20 percent of U.S. adults reported using social platforms as their go-to news source, compared to just 16 percent who still turn to printed news. These numbers have been steadily rising over the last few years, and they’re hardly surprising when you consider that readership for printed news has been on the decline for many years now.
These digital numbers are expected to continue their steady rise, as television consumption continues its decline now that more and more news sources are turning to the Internet for viewership and churning out more digitally shareable material to further increase numbers. In the last two years alone, television viewership has dropped from 57 percent to 49 percent. And, the use of news websites is closely closing in, with 33 percent of adults saying they prefer the medium over live television broadcasts.
Among those still tuning into broadcast television, most viewers prefer local television, with 37 percent regularly tuning into their regional stations. But, that number drops to just 25 percent sticking around to watch national evening network news shows. And, as you can imagine, these numbers drastically change when you break down viewership by age demographics. For instance, of those 65 and older, a whopping 81 percent still get their news from television, compared to 36 percent by those aged 30 – 49, and just 16 percent by those aged 18 – 29 (they’re also four times more likely than those 65 and older to get their news from social media).
Now, even with television viewership still holding steady as the top news source, when you take into consideration the combination of those looking to news websites and social media platforms, that margin between the two nearly closes. While television viewership holds around 49 percent, 43 percent of (younger and middle aged) adults are getting their news from both websites and/or social media. This reflects a massive shift in consumption, as the new norm is to gather information from multiple sources and platforms, not just one single viewing.
It’s clear to see that younger generations (those aged 18 – 49) are affecting the most change in the news industry and the way in which information is both presented and consumed. But, even with this shift in consumption, the good news is that there is still a place for print news in today’s modern, technologically advanced world. The real change is simply that there are more options and outlets for news gathering, consumption, and presentation with all of today’s resources.