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We are trending towards digital media which should come as no surprise. Pew Research announced today more Americans say they get their news from social media than from print newspapers. This is the second year in a row that social media outpaced print newspapers.

TV tops their list with 49 percent of Americans citing TV as their news sources, but that is down eight points from 2016. News websites are the second most cited news source with 33 percent of Americans receiving their news online up seven points from 2016. 

Radio came in third with 26 percent of Americans citing radio as their primary news source up one point from 2016. 

Social media, formerly at the bottom of the list, gained two points since 2016 taking over print newspapers’ spot with 20 percent. Print newspapers dropped two points as a primary news source since 2016 from 20 percent to 16 percent.

When you combine news websites with social media 43 percent of Americans get their news online. I suspect that number will continue to grow, especially as more Americans turn from cable to online streaming services.

Americans’ choice of news sources will feed these two trends:

  1. We’ll see less and less local news in favor of regional and national news. This is already happening, but this trend will continue.
  2. Increasing customization of news which will lead to increasing tribalism, even among “mainstream” sources. 

I don’t think the decline of print newspapers is a bad thing per se. I am troubled by people who get their news solely from social media, however, since it can be so hit and miss as you only see the news your friends are sharing. Also, when you consider social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter censoring content and deplatforming people makes this trend even more concerning.

Among 18-29 year-olds, social media is the predominant primary news source with 36 percent getting their news from social media. 27 percent of that age bracket says they get their news from news websites. Only 2 percent say they get their news from print newspapers.

Among my age bracket (30-49 year-olds), news websites dominate as their primary news source with 42 percent. TV comes in second at 36 percent, radio is third with 29 percent, social media is fourth at 22 percent, and only eight percent get their news from print newspapers.

Among 50-64 year-olds, TV is their number one source of news at 65 percent, news websites and radio is tied at 28 percent, print newspapers are third at 18 percent, and social media comes in last at 14 percent.

Among senior Americans, 65 years-of-age and up, 81 percent get their news from TV. 39 percent still get their news from print newspapers, 30 percent from radio, 28 percent from news websites, and just 8 percent receive their news from social media (which is actually higher than I expected.

Anyway, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where we are headed. Digital media will eventually lead, print newspapers will eventually go extinct, and radio will eventually decline.

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