Internet News Readership Booms Among Americans
As an avid writer, news junkie, and Orioles fan I admit I’m an addict of Google News, RSS Aggregators, and other news search engines like Topix.net or Yahoo’s News Search. On top of the news aggregating sites, I’m also checking the WashingtonPost.com, BaltimoreSun.com, and other regional and national news publications to see if there are any stories I’ve missed. Today, thankfully, I found out that I am not alone. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that 18 % of American adults cited the Internet as one of their two main sources of news about the presidential races, compared with only 3 % in 1996.
Not only is Internet usage and the reading of news on web pages increasing for US adults, but twenty-eight percent said they primarily used news pages of AOL, Yahoo, Google News and other online services that aggregate and let users search through thousands of online news sources. Additionally, the influence of newspapers dropped sharp to 39 % in 2004, way down from 60 percent in 1996, according to the survey from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press and the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Interestingly enough, the reliance on TV grew only slightly to 78 percent, up from 72 percent (can you say multi-tasking, or perhaps TIVO?).
What can be a major source of this? The answer comes in many forms, as do RSS readers and blogs. There are so many sources on the Internet which are spitting out the same everyday information from the print versions of newspapers or AP Wire services that readers are turning to non-traditional news such as industry targeted blogs or vertical news sites in order to categorize and digest such dynamic news and information. And the more news, the better – MSN, Google, and Yahoo are all jumping to corner the online news market. But this is just the beginning.
With the localization of such web news, these numbers should move far beyond the national Presidential race. Why take the time to read the local paper when I can simply turn the page to Topix.net and read the local news from the Grasonville area?