More folks online get their news by accident than by seeking it out. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 55% of online news consumers “stumble” upon news online when they are doing something else. 44% specifically seek the news out.
As you would expect, the “seekers” are more interested in news overall: 63% to 43%. Seekers are online looking for news, so they are more likely to get their news directly from the source – news organizations websites or apps. “Stumblers” – OK, let’s call them “passive news consumers” – are more likely to say they found news from friends or family. Both groups said they found news through social media about the same. Seekers say they get a broader range of news than they would get otherwise.
Here’s maybe the most interesting part of the study. Only 36% of digital news consumers overall prefer online as their primary platform for news.
Only the youngest news consumers say they prefer digital as their way to find news. Those who do prefer digital tend to have a more negative view of news media overall. They trust national news organizations less than everybody else. 81% say the media favors one side over another although there’s no consensus over which side is being favored.