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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Nation/World

Mobile Devices Growing as News Sources

Smartphones and tablets are growing as competition for laptops and desktop computers.

One in four Americans receives their news digitally from mobile devices, according to information released in the 2012 State of the News Media Report conducted by Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The report provides an in-depth examination of how Americans receive and read news as their news-seeking habits change from reading printed to digital news.

Laptops and desktop computers are still the dominant portal for delivering digital news,according to the study, but smart-phones and tablets are quickly catching up to close the gap.

Mobile devices also were found to direct users to consume more news and for extended periods of time.

The study found that computer ownership has reached more than three-quarters of the adult population, and that 54 percent of adults use computers for their news.

Laptop sales have begun to lag and smart-phones have begun to spread even more rapidly along with tablets.

The report said that 44 percent of adults own a smart-phone and that 18 percent of adults own a tablet. Tablet ownership alone among adults has raised 50 percent since last summer, Pew says.

Now the owners of multiple gadgets, nearly a quarter of adults were found to increasingly divide their news consumption between their devices.

The Pew Research Center also reported that although the public is used to news breaking on Twitter and to discovering embarrassing break-ups Facebook, the two social networking sites aren't very powerful "drivers" of news.

They are instead defined as "additive" sources for news instead of as replacements for major digital sources, such as news websites and online searches.

According to the report, only 9 percent of American adults "very often" click on news recommendations on Facebook or Twitter while 36 percent surf directly to news organizations.

Also, 32 percent of adults were found to get news from Web searches and 29 percent used a news aggregator or app.

However, the study also examined adults who use only the Web to get their news and found that 52 percent of adults said they turn to Facebook or Twitter.

That figure is still small though, compared to news websites which are preferred by 92 percent of digital-only consumers.

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