Where do Americans Get Their News?

Apr 12th, 2013 | Category: Media

A recent survey from the Media and Public Opinion (MPO) Research Group found that most Americans see room for improvement when it comes to the media’s international coverage.  Following that finding, MPO Post wanted to take a closer look at where exactly Americans get their news and how we feel about coverage of domestic issues.

So where do Americans get their news?  An MPO Research Group poll in January 2013 found that the majority of us stay on top of current events by watching TV: 30.6% from watching cable news and 29.8% from network television.  The Internet came in third place, followed by newspapers and radio.


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Among those who rely on cable television for news, the Fox News channel was usually thought to be offering the highest quality of journalism.  MSNBC was a distant second: only about a fourth as many cable TV viewers prefer MSNBC as prefer Fox.

As for network news viewers, almost a quarter of respondents said NBC offers the highest quality journalism.  However, a large number of network news viewers indicated that cable TV offered the best journalism: about one fifth chose CNN and another fifth chose Fox as the best sources of quality news.

Internet users are less impressed with the quality of mainstream media, with 29% saying that none of the big outlets produce the highest quality journalism.


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As for coverage of domestic issues, MPO measured the attitudes towards coverage of the 2012 election.  Respondents were asked to agree or disagree with the following statement: the news media did an excellent job informing viewers regarding the recent election.  When it came to coverage of the 2012 election, the media fared slightly better than when respondents commented on international coverage: 36.4% agreed that the election coverage was good, compared to 25.7% of respondents who say the media are doing a fine job with international coverage.


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Network television viewers were especially happy with the election coverage, while those who follow news via cable television or the Internet were largely dissatisfied.


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Data about news sources was collected from a survey of 564 people in January 2013.  The margin of error is 4.13%.

Other data was collected from a survey of 751 people in November 2012.  The margin of error is 3.58%