TV, print still key for news: US study

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Americans might have embraced the latest gadgets but they are still partial to getting at least some of their news the old-fashioned way.

Adults in the United States (US) tend to frequently move from one device or platform to another - television and print newspapers among them - as they follow current events, a survey released on Monday found.

"Americans on average reported that, during the past week, they followed the news using four different devices or technologies," it said.

"The majority of Americans across generations now combine a mix of sources and technologies to get their news each week," said Media Insight Project, an initiative of the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The survey also found that, for many Americans, traditional media was still more trusted than news blogs and social networks.

Eighty-eight per cent said they liked to get their information directly from a news organisation, such as a newspaper, TV newscast, website, or newswire, rather than from aggregators or social media.

And the trust factor plays into this as well. Americans largely trust the traditional news organisations: 43 per cent saying they trust this information completely or very much and 44 per cent indicating they trust it "moderately". By contrast, only 15 per cent of those who get news through social media say they have high levels of trust in this source and 27 per cent for news coming from electronic sharing with friends.

"Contrary to the idea that people now tend to trust news sources that share their point of view, taken together the findings suggest that rates of trust are highest for news operations that have less editorial opinion built into their model, such as local television news and wire services," the study said.

The report was based on a survey of 1,492 US adults between Jan 9 and Feb 16. The researchers said the overall sampling margin of error was 3.6 percentage points.

The study confirmed differences in how various age groups get their news.

Fully 89 per cent of those in the 40-59 age bracket and 95 per cent of those 60 and over used television to get news in the past week, compared with 76 per cent of those 18-29.

Three-quarters of those 60 and over said they had read print publications in the past week versus 47 per cent of adults age 18-29.