Contrary to the conventional wisdom about media consumption dividing along generational or political lines, a new survey finds that the nature of the news itself — the topic and speed of the story — largely determines where people go to learn about events and the path they take to get there.
The findings also suggest that some long-held beliefs about people relying on just a few primary sources for news are now obsolete.
“There are five devices or technologies that majorities of Americans use to get news in a given week. The average American adult uses four different devices or technologies for news.In contrast to the idea that one generation tends to rely on print, another on television and still another the web, the majority of Americans across generations now combine a mix of sources and technologies to get their news each week, according to the survey by the Media Insight Project, an initiative of the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Where people go for news, moreover, depends significantly on the topic of the story — whether it is sports or science, politics or weather, health or arts — and on the nature of the story — whether it is a fast-moving event, a slower-moving trend, or an issue that the person follows passionately.
The data also challenge another popular idea about the digital age, the notion that with limitless choices people follow only a few subjects in which they are interested and only from sources with which they agree — the idea of the so-called “filter bubble.”
There are relatively few differences by generation, party, or socioeconomic status in the level of interest with which people report following different topics...