October 1, 2012

Future of Mobile News

Ethnicity and News Consumption

The data also contain some hints that mobile technology is possibly being embraced by minority populations as a news source for reading in ways that newspapers never were.

While overall, blacks are somewhat less likely to own a tablet than are whites (14% vs. 22%), those who do are more likely to get news on it daily (56% of black tablet owners are daily news consumers on the devices versus 36% for whites).

Hispanics are just as likely to own a tablet (24%) as are whites, and just as likely, too, to be daily news consumers on the devices (37%).

And Hispanics are also more likely than whites to own smart phones (51% vs. 40%), and just as likely as whites (36% each) to be daily news consumers on them. 

This higher level of news consumption by blacks on tablets, and the relatively equal level of news consumption on both tablets and phones by Hispanics, stand in contrast to data going back many years about newspaper readership. In its biennial media consumption survey this year, for instance, the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that whites were more likely to be daily print newspaper readers (34%) than were either African Americans (24%) or Hispanics (13%).

The mobile news consumption data thus may hint at something new. Perhaps tablets and smartphones, which provide ready access to news from any source at lower cost of entry than desktop computers, may translate into a powerful news consumption tool for populations that felt underserved by the media in legacy forms.

Cite this publication: Amy Mitchell, Tom Rosenstiel, Laura Houston Santhanam and Leah Christian. “Future of Mobile News.” Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. (October 1, 2012) http://www.journalism.org/2012/10/01/future-mobile-news/, accessed on July 23, 2014.