Web Passes Papers as a News Source

By ALEX MINDLIN

   
         
   

The Internet overtook print newspapers as a news source this year, according to a report by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, which asked more than a thousand people where they got “most of” their national and international news. (Respondents were allowed to name more than one medium.)

The change does not represent a decline in the popularity of newspapers, which actually picked up a percentage point over last year. Rather, it represents a near-doubling, from 24 percent last year, in the number of people naming the Internet as their primary news source.

Michael Dimock, the Pew Center’s associate director, credited the presidential election, which he said lent itself to online coverage. “People often don’t want the general overview of an election,” he said. “They may want to follow their candidate, picking and choosing what they’re looking at in a way that mainstream media doesn’t allow.”

He added that political coverage works well with interactive features like Web polls and comment threads, whereas, for example, “the war in Iraq is a story well told by newspapers and television.”