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Study: As Technology Advances, Americans Increasingly Relying On Multiple Sources For News

(credit: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

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By Chelsea Karnash

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Regardless of our age or political beliefs, we get our news from multiple sources.

That’s the takeaway from the first part of the Media Insight Project’s multi-study initiative, which found that the majority of Americans now use a mix of different formats and technology to catch up on current events or hot topics. That includes social media, television and search engines, among other things.

According to a summary of the study, the findings suggest “some long-held beliefs about people relying on just a few primary sources for news are now obsolete.”

Furthermore, where people look for news depends on the story – both the topic and whether or not it’s rapidly-developing.

In fact, Americans are “becoming increasingly comfortable using technology in ways that take advantage of the strengths of each medium and each device.”

For example, people still turn to television for things like weather, crime and health news. About half of the people who said they were actively following a breaking news story had first heard about it on TV. But news consumers reported using newspapers – whether print or online – to learn about things like local news and the arts.

Finally, while social media has become a big part of news consumption, the study appears to show technology adding to ways people get news rather than replacing old methods. While 40% of those surveyed say they use social media, more than 80% of Americans also say they got news over the past week by going directly to a news organization in some manner. This, researchers say, was largely consistent across generations.

The Media Insight Project is a joint effort of the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. For this study, researchers surveyed nearly 1,500 adults between January 9 and February 16, 2014.

To see the full study, click here.

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