Breaking News Survey: Many Receive Updates from Social Media

Through the years, the means by which Americans learn about breaking news has changed drastically. From newspapers and radio to TV and the internet, news outlets are constantly evolving and changing with the times. Now, with the prominence of citizen journalism and the 24-hour news cycle, more and more people are finding out about breaking news from social media rather than official news sources. Could this be the next main source for breaking news information? Or is it mostly just a source for rumors?

breaking news

News Sources

In Ask Your Target Market’s latest survey, 28% of respondents said they regularly get news from social media. Respondents age 18-24% were more likely to do so, with 47% saying they regularly get news from social media. However, many still stick with some more traditional news sources as well. 65% get news from online news sites, 60% watch TV news, 29% read newspapers 19% listen to news on the radio, and 6% read other print publications.

News vs. Rumors

Since new updates are posted constantly on social media sites, many users can find out about news there before news sites have time to report the story. 23% of respondents said they often find out about breaking news from social media before it’s reported by official news sources. Another 27% said this has happened to them once or twice, 41% said it has never happened, and 10% said they don’t use social media.

However, since social media users aren’t normally held to the same standards as traditional news outlets, sometimes they can report the news incorrectly. 17% said they often find breaking news on social media sites that has turned out to be untrue. 32% said this has happened to them once or twice, and 51% said it has never happened to them.

Social Media Sources

Even traditional news sources sometimes turn to social media for information. 35% of respondents said they have seen tweets or other social media posts used as sources by official news outlets. Facebook is the most popular website where users sometimes learn about breaking news. 55% said they learn news on Facebook, 20% use Twitter, 13% use YouTube, 12% use Google+, and 43% use other sites.

While social media isn’t necessarily considered an official news source, the sheer amount of users makes it a very popular place to turn for updates on a wide array of topics, including breaking news. The widget below shows the results of the survey in full. Be sure to click “open full report” for full details.

Photo Credit: WJLA News Team from Flickr

What do you want to know? If you need some consumer insights on a particular topic, let us know in the comments below and we’ll consider it for an upcoming survey post.

Results were collected on February 15 via AYTM’s online survey panel.

Anne Pilon brings 3 years experience to AYTM as a blogger and journalist. She has a degree in journalism and marketing communications from Columbia College in Chicago and enjoys writing about business, marketing, social media, and art.