Go-to places for campaign news: TV, Internet

Authors: Pew Research Center for the People and the Press

Publication: Cable and Internet Loom Large in Fragmented Political News Universe

The Pew Research Center for The People and the Press surveyed 1,506 adults between Dec. 19 and Jan. 4, 2004, to learn where they were getting their political news. The study found sharp declines in the use of local news, network TV news and newspapers over a survey done during the 2000 presidential campaign. Despite the decline, television as a whole remained the public’s main source of campaign news.

Rising fast, though, was the influence of Internet sources.

“The Internet, a relatively minor source for campaign news in 2000, is now on par with such traditional outlets as public television broadcasts, Sunday morning news programs and the weekly news magazines,” researchers wrote. “And young people, by far the hardest to reach segment of the political news audience, are abandoning mainstream sources of election news and increasingly citing alternative outlets, including comedy shows such as the Daily Show and Saturday Night Live, as their source for election news.”

One important clarification: Internet users relied on the Web sites of major media outlets for campaign news, rather than Web-only news operations. Among Americans online, 40% said they received political news from AOL, Yahoo and other Web portals, while 38% relied to the same extent on the Web sites of major news organizations such as CNN and the New York Times. Only 11% said they regularly or sometimes learned about the campaign from online news magazines such as Slate and Salon.

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