Major News Events

When breaking news occurs, Americans increasingly turn to the Web as their primary source of news and information. The Pew Internet & American Life Project studies the ways in which people use online resources to learn about major events and the ways that information informs public opinion and debate. Information about the use of the Internet during major events is gathered through public opinion polling, online surveys and other research methods.

Recent topics explored by the Pew Internet & American Life Project include online charitable donations after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the United States; the role of the Web in political debate during presidential campaigns; and the Internet as a source of information about the war in Iraq. These studies help members of the news media, academic researchers and the public learn more about the ways that the Internet shapes our reactions to major news events in America.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project is an initiative of the Pew Research Center, a Pew subsidiary based in Washington, D.C. For more information about the Internet and significant news events, visit the Pew Internet & American Life Project Web site.


  • Majority of Americans Follow Olympic Games on TV, Online, Social Media

    Aug 06, 2012 - According to a new report from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, nearly eight in 10 Americans are following coverage of the Olympic Games in London. Seventy-three percent say they watched the games on television, 17% say they have watched online, and 12% say they have followed coverage on social media sites.

  • 72% of Americans Follow Local News Closely

    Apr 12, 2012 - Nearly three quarters of Americans say they follow local news closely most of the time, whether or not something important is happening. These news enthusiasts are more wedded to their local newspapers than others. Yet, younger local news followers differ in some important ways, including less reliance on local papers -- a potential sign of changes to come in the local news environment.

  • Search: 'Swine Flu'

    May 07, 2009 - The public ranks the internet most useful as a source of information on the virus. Where and how are people finding flu facts online?

  • 13 Million Americans Made Donations Online After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

    Nov 24, 2005 - In the aftermath of the Gulf Coast Hurricanes, 13 million Americans made donations to relief efforts online and 7 million set up their own hurricane relief efforts using the internet. In addition to using the internet to respond directly to the crisis, 50% of online users sought out news and information online.

  • Political Documentaries in 2004

    Jan 24, 2005 - "Fahrenheit 9-11" had broad political reach: 31% of adult Americans saw a political documentary last year.

  • The Internet and Democratic Debate

    Oct 27, 2004 - A poll on Internet users' online behaviors involving political information and discussion.

  • The Internet as a Unique News Source

    Jul 08, 2004 - A report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project find that millions go online for news and images not covered in the mainstream press.

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