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The Internet Becomes A Viable News Source

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A recent report discovered during the election, more people made use of the Internet to acquire their news intake.

This increase was particularly noticeable during the recent presidential election, where an estimated 75 million Americans used the Internet to follow news about candidates and other election news. The report responsible for this data was conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Project members conducted a survey to determine the amount of people who used the Internet for election news purposes. The results revealed:

  • 52% of internet users, or about 63 million people, said they went online to get news or information about the 2004 elections. We call them online political news consumers.
  • 35% of internet users, or about 43 million people, said they used email to discuss politics, and one of the most popular email subjects was jokes about the candidates and the election.
  • 11% of internet users, or more than 13 million people, went online to engage directly in campaign activities such as donating money, volunteering, or learning about political events to attend.
  • Michael Cornfield, consultant to the Pew Research Center, shared his thoughts (pdf format) about the survey’s results

    “Did internet use make a difference in the 2004 presidential race? Yes. The most successful campaigns relied on it to gain advantages over their competitors. The numbers of adult Americans who relied on the internet to learn about the campaigns, to help make up their minds, to help others make up theirs, and to register and vote is simply too large relative to the final margin to think otherwise.

    The numbers of American citizens who turn to the internet for campaign politics may dip in 2005 and the off-year election in 2006, in the absence of a presidential election. But a return to pre-2000 or even pre-2002 levels of engagement seems unlikely.”

    If you apply these numbers with Pew’s research concerning blog readership, it appears as if the Internet has become one of the primary sources for articles and opinions concerning current news and events.

    Pew’s research of blogs and their readers discovers, “8 million American adults say they have created blogs; blog readership jumped 58% in 2004 and now stands at 27% of internet users” Depending on your outlook, because of the increase in readership, these results can be viewed as positive. Or you can take Steve Rubel’s stance, which seems more defiant.

    However, if blog readership continues to mimic the growth observed in 2004, these numbers should continue to increase. When the blog numbers are coupled with Pew’s research concerning Internet news, the conclusion becomes apparent:

    The Internet is a viable source for reliable news and commentary.

    Chris Richardson is a search engine writer and editor for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest search news.

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