Study: TV Still Dominant News Source

Pew Research Center: 'Traditionalists' remain largest segment of news consumers.
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People who still rely heavily on TV for their news, dubbed "Traditionalists," remained the largest segment of news consumers (46%) by a wide margin, according to the Pew Research Center's biennial poll, conducted April 30-June 1 among 3,615 participants.

Their average age was 52, so they remained in the key 18-54 news demo, but according to Pew, they were primarily a downscale audience, with 43% unemployed and 60% without a college degree.

But even the younger, more "engaged and "sophisticated" "Integrators," who use both traditional and new-media sources of news and make up 23% of the news audience, also identified television as their main source of that news, with some online news in the mix on most days.

The "Net-Newsers" who rely primarily on the Internet for news made up only 13% of the audience, less than those who were labeled "Disengaged" (14%) for showing low levels of interest in news. They were the youngest audience at a median age of 35.

But the ranks of online-news consumers are growing. Between 2006 and 2008, the percentage of news consumers who regularly get news online jumped from 29% to 37%.

But TV still gets a healthy share of the youngest, most online-friendly group, with almost half of the Net-Newsers (47%) saying they watch TV news daily.

One disturbing trend was toward less overall news consumption by the under-25 set. More than one-third said they get "no news" on a typical day, up from 25% a decade ago.

The survey also found that CNN's Democratic base was growing, while Fox News Channel’s Republican following remained about the same. Pew found that 51% of CNN viewers identified themselves as Democrats, up from 45% in 2006, while over the same time, the percentage of Fox News’ Republican viewership remained at 39%.

Among the survey's other highlights -- or lowlights, as the case may be -- was that the believability ratings for "national news organizations" remained "very low," with online news sites like Google News and AOL News rating even lower than the category in general.

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