News “grazers” becoming the norm

A majority of today’s news consumers (51%) are news “grazers” who “check in on news” whenever they want or stumble on news while online, rather than waiting for news to be delivered at a regular time by a specific news organization, according to the latest Pew survey on news consumption.

This is just one of many findings in the 2008 version of the biennial survey that document how the Internet is changing the way people interact with news.

A few examples:

  •  although fewer older people use the Internet compared to younger
    age groups, older people who are web-connected are at least as likely
    as younger news consumers to read blogs about politics and current
  • people are using search engines more often to find news rather than going to specific news sites
  • most people under 25 (64 per cent) read or watch news encountered
    by  following links rather than by looking for news at specific sites
  • half of web news consumers customize their news by using tools such as customizable web pages, e-mail updates or RSS

In its analysis of the survey results, Pew divides news consumers into four groups:

1. Traditionalists: The largest (46 per cent), oldest (median age 52), least educated and least affluent group. Traditionalists prefer visuals and are heavy television news viewers.

2. Integrators: Well educated and affluent, this group (23 per cent of the public) uses traditional (television and some print) news sources but also goes online for news, especially during the daytime.

3. Net-Newsers:  Well-educated, affluent and young,  this group (about 13 per cent of the public) gets most of its news online.

4. The Disengaged: This group (about 14 per cent of the public) is not interested in the news.

Other findings from the Pew survey can be found here