Technology has changed how people consume news, as well as the process of gathering it.  Information is now almost instantaneous and available anywhere in the world.  And news has been democratized so that voices outside the mainstream can be heard.

This is healthy for democracy but is an earthquake for the business of journalism.  Newspaper circulation is dropping, newsroom staffs are shrinking, and ad revenue is declining.  Pew tracks these changes through its annual state of the news media reports, providing fact-based analysis of the growth of digital news sites, the purchase of major journalism institutions by entrepreneurs, the use of mobile devices to access news, the mixing of news and marketing through sponsor-generated content, and other trends in journalism.

Recent Work

February 22, 2021 Methodology

The data used in this report was collected from nine surveys conducted between November 2019 and November 2020 on Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP). The surveys were all a part of the Center’s American News Pathways project, in which the same 12,043 panelists were surveyed repeatedly between November 2019 and November 2020 on […]

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February 22, 2021 Acknowledgments

The American News Pathways project was made possible by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Pew Research Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder. This initiative is a collaborative effort based on the input and analysis of the following individuals. Find related reports online at https://www.pewresearch.org/topics/election-news-pathways/. Research Team Amy Mitchell, Director, Journalism […]

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February 22, 2021 Appendix: Measuring news sources used during the 2020 presidential election

At three points during the 2020 election season, the American News Pathways project classified Americans’ news diets according to the political leanings of the audiences of the news outlets they used to get political and election news. For the analysis in Chapter 1, respondents’ news diets from three surveys conducted in November 2019, September 2020 […]

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February 22, 2021 5. Republicans’ views on COVID-19 shifted over course of 2020; Democrats’ hardly budged

In March 2020, as the World Health Organization was declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic and its spread was accelerating in the U.S., Republicans and Democrats were paying similar levels of attention to news coverage of the outbreak. At that time, 53% of Democrats (including those who lean Democratic) were following news of the pandemic very […]

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February 22, 2021 4. Americans who mainly got news via social media knew less about politics and current events, heard more about some unproven stories

Beyond the differences in perceptions between partisans – and within parties based on people’s news sources – those who turn to social media as the most common way they get their political news stand out in some ways from those who get news from other pathways (news websites and apps; local, cable, and network TV; […]

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February 22, 2021 3. Misinformation and competing views of reality abounded throughout 2020

Unprecedented national news events, a sharp and sometimes hostile political divide, and polarized news streams created a ripe environment for misinformation and made-up news in 2020. The truth surrounding the two intense, yearlong storylines – the coronavirus pandemic and the presidential election – was often a matter of dispute, whether due to genuine confusion or […]

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February 22, 2021 2. Republicans who relied on Trump for news in 2020 diverged from others in GOP in views of COVID-19, election

While large partisan gaps emerged in views of two dominant stories of last year – the COVID-19 pandemic and the presidential election – there also was one clear and consistent difference within a single party. As a whole, Republicans who turned to Donald Trump as a key source of news about these events had different […]

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February 22, 2021 1. About a quarter of Republicans, Democrats consistently turned only to news outlets whose audiences aligned with them politically in 2020

At the outset of the election year, a Pew Research Center study found Democrats and Republicans increasingly relied on two divergent media ecosystems. During the course of the presidential campaign, the Americans News Pathways project reexamined these news habits multiple times, with a particular focus on partisans who got more news from outlets with audiences […]

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