The Pew Internet & American Life Project released a new report this morning about the consumption of news in a digital setting. The report can be found on the Pew website. Some of the interesting findings:
- 92% of Americans surveyed use multiple places & platforms to get their daily news
- local & national television stations still come out ahead of the internet as news sources
- 59% of Americans surveyed use both online & offline news sources
- 33% of cell phone owners access news on their phones
- 28% of internet users have customized homepages with news sources (e.g. iGoogle)
- 37% of internet users have actually participated in news dissemination, creation, or commenting
- 75% of those who get news online find news through email forwards or through friends’ posts on social networking sites
- 52% of those who get news online also share links to news with others through email or social networking
- 55% report that it is now easier to keep up with news and information than it was five years ago, and yet…
- 70% feel overwhelmed by the amount of news and information available
So how does this affect libraries? Well, we have an opportunity to help act as filters for our communities. Why not create a great webpage that offers widgets with headlines from local & national & international news sources in different media (radio, newspaper, blogs, television, podcasts, etc.)? Why not offer classes on finding good news sources? Why not present tutorials on the great news digesting widgets & personalized homepages for our customers?
Why not be the community resource that helps people with that last item about how people feel overwhelmed by too much news? That last issue really is a big one for me. It’s the gap into which reference librarians can step. Dealing with information & information overload is a key resource we can offer our communities. I see few libraries doing it, and I sincerely hope that more of us will fill that gap and focus more on that need in the community.