For the past few decades, television has been the undisputed leading source of news. In recent years though, a new medium for sourcing news has started to catch up and even surpass television – the Internet.
Even in 2013, statistics from the UK’s Office for National Statistics already showed that 55% of adults, for the first time ever, access news on the web. Social media plays a vital role as well. In 2016, Pew Research revealed that 62% of US adults get their news from social media, with Facebook being the top source.
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More mainstream sources of news such as newspapers and TV aren’t gone yet, of course, but the Internet is growing as a prefered source. To help you understand where do people get their news from today, we’re going to concentrate on Internet-based sources, as there’s adequate information on non-Internet sources already.
Below, we will discuss secondary sources, which concentrate on referring visitors to primary news sources. However, that isn’t to say that secondary sources aren’t real news sources in their own right. Let’s take a look:
Search engines play a vital role in sourcing news on the Internet. For one thing, unless a news reader or viewer know the exact web address of a news website, it’s highly likely that they will use search engines.
Also, if a person wants to see different perspectives on a particular news event, they would usuallyturn to the search engine for other sources. Google perfected news browsing as it intuitively groups news articles that talk about the same topic and it always shows the latest update on a particular news piece rather than rely on SEO on its rankings.
Usually, news websites would use their social media presence as a referral magnet to drive visitors to their websites where the final news piece actually is. Sometimes, it’s enough for social media users to just browse the headlines and short descriptions if they want just a quick overview of the news.
You can feel the role played by social media in recent years. Facebook was at the center of the “fake news” issues, and earlier, Twitter and Youtube have given rise to citizen journalism and even became a catalyst for social and political change such as the Arab Spring.
When the Internet became a popular source of information, news websites became known as “online newspapers” and were the top sources of news for the growing Internet users.
With the increase of Internet users, news websites also became a vital channel for news companies to reach their audience. Its fast growth led to more news companies focusing on their websites. With the addition of other complementary technologies like mobile and social media, news websites increased even more in importance.
Fast forward to today, news websites are still the leading source of news. Regardless of where you first found the news, whether through social media or organic search, at the end of the line, the main destination are still news websites.
While digital magazines have a much lower readership due to many of them being paid subscription-based, nonetheless, they have become a vital source of high-quality news analysis.
Of course, they rarely concentrate on breaking news. Rather, much like their print cousins, they take a more in-depth, analytical approach to news. What separates digital magazines from those above is that it doesn’t necessarily focus on “quick” information, but rather longer articles that provide a deeper understanding of what has been reported in the past.
It doesn’t matter whether they’re focused on geopolitics or economy, such as the Economist, or industry-related news, the value brought by a digital magazine is the same regardless of its focus.
The Internet has allowed us to multiply our news sources and access them more conveniently. While Internet-based news still exists alongside more mainstream sources such as television and newspapers, the demand for Internet-based news grows stronger than the others. Both publishers and advertisers should discover different ways to incorporate Internet-based content into their strategies to be able to take advantage of this growing opportunity.
CEO at PaperLit (part of Datrix | AI applications group) a tech company specialised in the digital transformation, distribution and monetization of content via mobile and smart speakers, for publishers and brands, with hundreds of customers worldwide.
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