According to a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 61% of Americans now get some of their news online, though local TV stations are still the most popular means of finding out about the news. Local print newspapers still reach 50% of Americans and 17% read the print versions of national papers like the New York Times or USA Today.

While 38% of Americans still rely solely on offline sources for their daily news, only 2% of adults in the U.S. get their news exclusively from online sources.

The majority of news consumers in the U.S. (59%) now get their news from a combination of online and offline sources.

News Portals Are the Most Popular Sources - Younger Internet Users also Rely on Social Networks

When online, American Internet users generally rely on 2 to 5 different sites to get their news. Interestingly, 65% of online news users say that they don't have a favorite online news source.

The majority of Internet users (56%) rely on news portals like Google News, AOL or Topix. Younger Internet users under 29 also tend to use social networks to look for interesting stories that their peers share with them (44%) and 13% specifically follow news organizations or individual journalists on social networking sites.

Only 4% of all Internet users follow Twitter updates from journalists and news organizations to stay on top of the news. News podcasts are far more popular than Twitter for getting news updates. About 15% of online news users over 18 listen to news podcasts from organizations like NPR or the New York Times.

What About RSS?

Sadly, the Pew study did not ask users if they used RSS feeds and feed readers to consume news ("RSS" doesn't even appear in the report). While a lot of Internet users probably use RSS to consume news on portal sites and news aggregators without knowing it, it would be interesting to see how many people use services like Google Reader to consume news.

Sharing News

Three-quarters of all adult Internet users in the U.S. say that they get news forwarded to them by email or through posts on social networking sites. A quarter of these Internet users, however, also says that they barely ever read these stories.

Demographics

Marketers and the advertising departments for online news sources will be happy to hear that news users tend to be younger than the average population (68% are under 50 and 29% are under 30) and are likely to be employed full-time (50%) and have at least some college education (67%). Their household income also tends to be higher than the U.S. average. These users are also have faster broadband connections (84%) than the average Internet user.

The heaviest consumers of online news are between 30 and 49 years old and likely to live in a household with an annual income of over $50,000.

What do they look for?

The vast majority of Internet users goes online to find out information about the weather (81%). News about national events (73%), health (66%), business and finance (64%) and news about international events (62%) are also among the top 5 most popular categories among online news consumers . Tech news is the sixth-most popular category.

Get RWW News on Facebook

You can become a fan of ReadWriteWeb on Facebook and get our news and analysis about the changing web delivered directly into your News feed.