Internet news overtakes printed papers for US readers

For the first time ever, Americans are more likely to turn to the internet for news rather than printed newspapers or the radio, research revealed yesterday. Internet and mobile phone technology had changed news "into a social experience", said the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, based in Washington DC.

Most respondents to a Pew survey said they turned to multiple sources for news – about 46 per cent used up to six different sources a day. The number of people going online has overtaken newspapers and radio and is fast catching up with the TV.

Half of those polled read the news in a local newspaper and 17 per cent read a national such as the New York Times or USA Today. This compares with 61 per cent of respondents who searched the internet for their news.

About 54 per cent said they listened to a radio news programme at home or in the car. The most popular news sources were local TV stations, with 78 per cent, followed by the 73 per cent who watched the news on a national network such as CNN or Fox News.

"Americans' relationship with news is changing in dramatic and irreversible ways due to changes in the 'ecology' of how news is available," the report said. "Traditional news organisations are still very important to their consumers but technology has scrambled every aspect of the relationship between news producers and the people who consumer news."

The most common online news sources were portals such as AOL and Google, which are visited by more than half of online news users a day. This will provide organisations such as Rupert Murdoch's News Corp with more ammunition against search portals. He has accused them of profiting from others' content, while the editor of The Wall Street Journal, Robert Thomson, has said the aggregators "encourage promiscuity" among readers.