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New Pew report: Net more important for campaign news for young

Posted on Mon, Jan 22, 2007 at 5:57 PM by Andrew Chadwick

Another excellent report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project in Washington, DC. The major findings:

"The number of Americans using the internet as their main source of political news doubled since the last mid-term election.
31% of Americans used the internet during the 2006 campaign to get political news and information and discuss the raced through email. We call them campaign internet users.
Relatively young broadband users say the internet is a more important political news source than newspapers.
A new online political elite is emerging as 23% of campaign internet users became online political activists.
While mainstream news sources still dominate the online news and information gathering by campaign internet users, a majority of them now get political material from blogs, comedy sites, government websites, candidate sites or alternative sites.
While most campaign internet users say convenience is a major reason they use the internet, more than half cite the internet’s breadth of information and perspectives as a major reason for their online activity.
Republicans and Democrats were equally likely to rely on the internet – but there were partisan trends in usage of other political news sources."

Most surprising are the findings relating to growth in the numbers producing and distributing content:

"8% of campaign internet users posted their own political commentary to a newsgroup, website or blog.
13% of them forwarded or posted someone else’s political commentary.
1% of them created political audio or video recordings.
8% of them forwarded or posted someone else’s political audio or video recordings.
Altogether, 23% of campaign internet users (or 11% of internet users and 7% of the entire U.S. population) had done at least one of those things. That translates into about 14
million people."

Also, while TV is still the dominant source of campaign news, for those under the age of 36 with broadband, the Internet was second only to TV (and double the score for newspapers) in terms of where people got most of their election news.

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