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Americans Reading News on the Internet Have Tripled in 2 Years

June 09, 1998|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — The number of Americans reading news on the Internet at least once a week has more than tripled in the last two years, according to a survey released Monday.

But those who go online for news do not appear to cut their consumption of news from other sources such as newspapers and television, the Pew Research Center said.

The center's survey of 3,002 adults, conducted by telephone between April 24 and May 11, found that 20% of them went online for news at least once a week, compared with 6% in 1996 and 4% in 1995.

That translates into about 36 million people in the United States in 1998, compared with 11 million in 1996, it said.

"The survey gives no evidence that going online for news leads to less reading or viewing of more traditional news sources. People who go online for news say that their news habits are unchanged," the center said.

"Analysis of the polling confirms this, in finding that their news consumption patterns do not differ significantly from [those of] nonusers," it added.

The survey suggested that despite the increasing use of the Internet, cable television news remained more influential.

Forty percent of Americans now regularly watch one of the cable news networks, against 57% for the network news, the dominant medium for several decades.

But almost half of Americans--46%--do not follow national news at all unless a major story breaks. Local news has a bigger following--61% of Americans keep up with it most of the time, the survey said.

The results of the survey are probably accurate to within plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

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