Survey: TV Remains Top News Access Device

Among all the new media devices, tablets, smart phones and other handheld, luggable and desk-bound computers, the TV set remains the top access device for news and local TV news remains the top outlet and the most trusted news source.

That is according to a new survey, The Personal News Cycle from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute's Media Insight Project.

The survey found that a whopping 87% of those polled said they use television to get news, with 69% saying a computer, 65% radio, 61% print, 56% a cell phone and 29% a tablet.

Local TV news was the top source, with 82% saying they got news from local TV, followed by 73% who got news from broadcast network TV. Newspapers were third at 66%, followed by 24-hour cable news at 62% and radio at 56%. Age was said to have only a limited impact on those numbers.

The study found plenty of "tech-savvy" news consumers who use their phones and tablets for news, but also found that "they are no more or less likely than everyone else to use print publications, television, or radio to access the news."

And when they and others want news about weather, traffic, crime and health, they are most likely to turn to local TV.

Traffic and weather were also the most-followed of any news topic (by 84%).

Cable news was the go-to source for "politics, international news, business and the economy, and social issues."

TV also leads when it comes to breaking news. Over half (61%) of respondents said they first heard about the last breaking news story they followed from TV, including cable, local and network broadcast newscasts.

In terms of what news sources they trusted most, the top two were within the margin of error, but local TV came out on top at 52% saying they trusted it "very much or "completely"; followed by news wires at 51%. Radio news followed at 48%; network broadcast news at 47%, and cable news in fifth at 44%.

The survey was a phone poll held from Jan. 9 to Feb. 16 of 1,492 adults 18-plus. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.