(by Jessica Heslam, BostonHerald.com) – Mike Cieslak gets his news old-school style.

The 48-year-old Boston tourist likes to flip the pages of his home-delivered newspaper while drinking a cup of coffee. His buddy, Bill LeBlanc of Wrentham, relishes the smell of the paper and ink. “I like taking it with me wherever I go,” LeBlanc said.

But the firefighter pals are part of a diminishing breed. For the first time ever, according to a new report, more people are getting the news online than from newspapers.

“People are spending more time with news than ever,” said Amy Mitchell, deputy director of Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. “They’re spending the same amount of time with the mix of traditional outlets, but now they’ve added on online news consumption.”

This year’s annual State of the News Media report found that 46 percent of people said they get the news online at least three times a week – compared to the 40 percent who turn to newspapers.

The report also found that 47 percent of Americans said they get “some kind of local news” on mobile devices such as cell phones and other wireless gadgets – think iPads.

Take Michael Norton. The 57 year-old attorney recently canceled all his newspaper subscriptions and reads them on his laptop and iPhone, which is loaded with newspaper apps.

“It’s a long way to the end of the driveway,” said Norton, who confessed that he “very much” misses holding the newspaper but cyberspace is simply more convenient.

Emerson College junior Joe Hyer learned about Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami from Twitter at about 2 a.m. on his BlackBerry.

Hyer reads several newspapers online, and even gets one delivered, but said it’s more convenient to peruse the news on the Web. “Generally, if I’m accessing news, its almost always on my BlackBerry,” Hyer said. “It’s just convenient.”

Christopher Guinn, an Emerson senior, prefers to be bombarded by links to news stories on Twitter rather than seeking it out. “I’ve got a laptop, so news is at my fingertips, and most of what is in print is online for free,” Guinn said. “The convenience factor has got me.”

Joe McNally of Ireland reads the news, from CNN to the BBC to local Irish newspapers, on his iPhone 4. “It’s just so easy to actually read it online,” McNally said. He’s not alone.

Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from BostonHerald.com. Visit the website at BostonHerald.com.


1. Which organization produces a yearly “State of the News Media” report?

2. What conclusion did Pew make about internet news vs. newspaper news?

3. From what types of electronic devices do Americans get their news?

4. For what reason do people say they get their news online instead of from a traditional newspaper?

5. Do an informal survey: try to ask at least 5 people under the age of 25, and at least 5 people over the age of 50 how they access news. Compare your answers with the class.

6. Ask a grandparent what he/she thinks of the trend toward internet news. Ask a parent the same question.


Read the summary of the Pew Research Center’s “2011 State of the News Media” report at pewresearch.org/pubs/1924/state-of-the-news-media-2011?src=prc-latest&proj=peoplepress.

Read the full report at stateofthemedia.org.


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