Just over a quarter of American adults now read news on their cell phones, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center. The survey results being released by the group Monday offer another sign of how people are changing they way they get information. Technology has been reshaping the news business and the way consumers relate to it for more than a decade. The latest shift is being driven by the exploding popularity of phones that can easily access the Internet.The new study found that 26 percent of Americans get news on their phones. Pew doesn’t have comparable data for say, two or three years ago. But evidence of the shift in habits can be seen in this finding: Younger cell phone owners are more likely to look for news on their phones. About 43 percent of those under 50 said they are mobile news consumers, compared with 15 percent of older respondents.
Still, some things don’t change. Readers’ No. 1 concern when they look for news on their phones: the weather. Of the 37 percent of cell phone owners who said they use the Internet on their phone, 72 percent said they check weather reports. Current events came in second with 68 percent.
Pew’s survey offered a wide range of statistics on people’s news habits. It showed people are not relying on one medium. Just shy of 60 percent of respondents get news from both online and offline sources. And 46 percent said they use four to six different types of media on a typical day.
The Web is also helping to turn the news into more of a social experience: More than 80 percent of respondents get or receive news via e-mailed links.
The results were based on telephone interviews with 2,259 people over the age of 18, conducted between Dec. 28 and Jan. 19. For questions to that entire group, the margin of error was 2.3 percentage points. On questions to just Internet users, the margin was 2.7 percentage points.