"People are becoming more and more used to assembling news from a variety of places," explained Amy Mitchell, deputy director of Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. "And once they go online, there too, they tend to go to a mix of places. Just a third of people that we surveyed actually said that they would name a favorite news site. A majority go to between two to five sites."
Additionally, the survey found that 78% get news from local TV, 73% from national or cable networks, 54% from radio news programs, 50% from local newspapers, and 17% from national newspapers.
While consumers may use news aggregators, customize their homepage, or go to Twitter to find news, a lot of the content is directed back to the Web sites of legacy outlets, Mitchell said. This reinforces recent findings from the Pew Research Center that a majority of new reporting comes from traditional media.
Other elements of the survey focused on portability and participation. Thirty-three percent of cell phone owners access news on their cell phones, while 37% of Internet users have contributed to a news story, commented on it, or passed it on via e-mail or social media.
Mitchell said consumers are moving away from citizen journalism, and reporting the news themselves, and instead they have a "strong desire to participate by sharing information, passing things along, commenting." Again, she mentioned, they generally share links from traditional media outlets online.
"This all speaks to the way information in being digested," she said. "The trend of people 'grazing' is important to think about from a PR and communications standpoint. They want to come up with as many ways to disseminate [news] as possible."