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Internet Closes On TV As Top News Source

While older Americans still prefer the tube, those ages 18-29 are more likely to check the Web to catch the latest news, finds Pew study.

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When they want to catch up on the day's news, Americans aged 18-29 are more likely to logon to their computers than hit their TV remotes, a new study by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found.

In fact, 65% of people in this age group get their news online, the first time the Internet surpassed television as the primary source of news, according to the study of 1,500 adults, reached via cell phone and landline Dec. 1 through 5, 2010. In 2007, only 34% of respondents depended on the Internet as their main news source, the report said. A stable 56% in this age group continue to rely on TV.

Among people aged 30 to 49, 48% said the Internet is their primary source of news, up 16% from 2007, while 63% cite TV, down 8 points, according to Pew. About one-third of older Americans -- those aged 50 to 64 -- say they prefer the Internet as their news source, far fewer than the 71% who rely on television, the study found.

"There has been relatively little change in the how people age 65 and older get their news. The Internet has risen to 14% from 5% in 2007, but is still far behind newspapers (47%) and television (79%) as a main source," the report said.

Education appears to play a role in determining where people turn for news. Fifty-one percent of college graduates and those who attended some college logon for news, while 54% of those with a college degree and 63% of Americans with some college turn on the TV when they want to check out what's happening in the world. By comparison, only 29% of people with no more than a high school education prefer the Internet and three-quarters cite TV as their preferred news source, according to Pew.

"Similarly, those with household incomes of $75,000 or more are about as likely to get most of their news on the Internet (54%) as from television (57%). People with household incomes under $30,000 are far more likely to cite television (72%) than the Internet (34%)," the report said.

No matter the source, Americans are spending more time watching and listening to news -- about 70 minutes a day, a September Pew study found.

"Americans say they are spending more time with the news than over much of the past decade thanks to the increased availability of alternative ways to get the news," said Andrew Kohut, president of Pew Research Center.

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