Washington Secrets

CNN, newspapers hammered as Americans turn to mobile news

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

Americans are fast turning to mobile devices to get their news, resulting in stunning viewership declines for CNN and existence-threatening readership drops for newspapers, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The winners: social network sites, online news and websites like the Drudge Report and Yahoo.

In Pew's latest look at trends in news consumption, Americans said that they have turned away from CNN. In just four years, the percentage of those who say they watch CNN has dropped from 24 percent to 16 percent. Viewership of the competing cable giants, Fox and MSNBC, has remained fairly stable with Fox leading with 21 percent who say they watch it regularly and MSNBC third with 11 percent who say they watch it regularly.

CNN is not the only one hurting: Newspaper readership has dropped in half since 2000, with only 23 percent of those polled saying they read a paper. Magazine readership, meanwhile, has dropped to 18 percent, and those getting their news from TV is down to 55 percent, a troubling trend.

Maybe the worst news of all in the poll is that younger Americans are not the news consumers that their parents are. Fully 29 percent of Americans under 25 said they didn't pay attention to news.

"Young people also consistently spend less time with the news than do older Americans, which is in part attributable to the relatively large share that gets no news on a typical day. In the current survey, those younger than 30 spent an average of 45 minutes getting news yesterday. Older age groups spent an hour or more with news, on average, with those 65 and older spending an average of 83 minutes with the news yesterday," said Pew.

As Americans turn away from traditional news platforms, they are embracing mobile delivery, either through cellular phones, computers or wireless tablets, said Pew. And that has naturally given the advantage to social websites like Facebook, traditional news outlets with established websites or web-only sites like Drudge and Yahoo. Pew, for example, included Drudge in their list of the top 18 news websites, reporting that 2 percent of those surveyed get their news most often, the same percentage as the websites for the Washington Post, USA Today and ESPN.

But one website popular among Washington political and news types--Twitter--scored poorly in the survey. Pew said that just 13% of adults use Twitter and they apparently are not using it to get news, despite efforts by news organizations and reporters who tweet news by the minute.

"Among the public," said Pew, "Twitter barely registers as a news source. Just three percent say they regularly get news on Twitter, while 4 percent sometimes get news there." but Pew did note that Twitter usership is growing.

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