The Model of a Modern News User

This industry is obsessed with understanding how people get their news these days, and how best to make sure when and how people want to be informed. Their news organization is the one they seek out.

The old saying is that form follows function - but there has been such a radical upheaval in the form for news creation and delivery, and who can and does publish it. The Pew Research Center has published a new study on the modern news consumer. The data is American, but the trends and influences are the same everywhere. In fact, in the digital era, borders mean nothing for access to information.

The study asked U.S. adults about their news habits and attitudes. They were also asked in real time, over a period of a week, about news they had received in the previous two hours. The results reveal the role of friends and family but shows that we still rely on news organizations to inform us about our world.

To be sure, news remains an important part of public life. More than seven-in-ten U.S. adults follow national and local news somewhat or very closely – 65% follow international news with the same regularity. Fully 81% of Americans get at least some of this news through websites, apps or social networking sites. And, this digital news intake is increasingly mobile. Among those who get news both on desktop computers and mobile devices, more than half prefer mobile.

In this digital news environment, the role of friends and family is amplified, but Americans still reveal strong ties to news organizations. The data also reinforce how, despite the dramatic changes witnessed over the last decade, the digital news era is still very much in its adolescence.