TV news tops, but Web a close second

The Pew Research Center’s annual look at where people get their news shows TV still dominates, but online news consumption continues to grow.  In fact, newspapers are no longer the second most common source of news for Americans, they’ve dropped into third place.

According to Media Post Publications, TV claimed “70% share in 2008–but that’s down from 74% in 2007, and a peak of 82% in 2002.”  A closer look at the demographics raises a concern for TV newsrooms, too – for adults 30 and under, TV and the Internet are now tied as primary news sources.  And here’s something else for TV stations to worry about:

Although print newspapers–especially big metro dailies–appear to be locked in an irreversible long-term decline, newspaper Web sites have had big increases in audiences. In October 2008–the last month for which data is available–newspaper Web sites attracted a total of 68.97 million unique visitors–up 64% from 41.96 million in October 2004.

So why aren’t we seeing similar results for TV news sites?  Could it be that TV stations continue to minimize the importance of the Web in their newsrooms?  To be fair, it may be that the big metro newspapers, despite layoffs, still have larger editorial staffs than their TV counterparts, so they have the content available to create more robust Web sites.  But TV stations need to figure out how to capitalize on the Web, and they need to do it fast.