More Americans Get News From Social Media Than Newspapers, Study Shows

“Social media’s small edge over print emerged after years of steady declines in newspaper circulation,” Pew Research’s Elisa Shearer says

More Americans are now getting their news from social media than traditional print newspapers, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center. It’s the first time social media has overtaken print papers since Pew began including them in their regular surveys of the subject in 2017.

In 2018, about 20 percent of Americans said they got their news from social media, a jump over the 16 percent of Americans who cited print newspapers. Radio and “news websites” made up 26 and 33 percent, respectively — with television remaining atop with 49 percent.

“Social media’s small edge over print emerged after years of steady declines in newspaper circulation and modest increases in the portion of Americans who use social media, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this year,” Elisa Shearer said in a piece for the research center.

The study found that the primary audience for print newspapers were respondents 65 years and older — among which 39 percent cited them as their main news source. But in every other age group, that number did not exceed 18 percent. More than 4 out of 5 of the oldest Americans also cited television as their primary news source, while just 16 percent of respondents aged 18 to 29 said it was theirs.

“Younger Americans are also unique in that they don’t rely on one platform in the way that the majority of their elders rely on TV,” Shearer said. “No more than half of those ages 18 to 29 and 30 to 49 get news often from any one news platform.”

The numbers suggest that social news distribution platforms like Facebook and Twitter have a bright future as millennial influence continues to grow within the U.S. and shows that older warhorses like cable news — brought to renewed relevance under President Trump — may still be with us for many more years to come.