Internet eclipses print media, radio as source of news

August 4th, 2008 - 3:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Aug 4 (IANS) The Internet is rivalling and even eclipsing traditional media, particularly television, with users spending less time watching TV, listening to the radio and reading newspapers than non-users, according to a new study here. Users are also more likely to turn to the net as their primary source of information for important news stories. These findings are based on a survey of 1,000 Australians by Centre for Creative Industries (CCI).

The study also found that 20 percent of the people interviewed had never used the net, resulting in a digital divide in the country.

Lead investigator Julian Thomas of the CCI said: “There is a digital divide in Australia - and it reflects patterns of uptake that are repeated elsewhere in the prosperous West. If you’re male, employed or studying, if you have a university degree and a higher than average income, you are more likely to be online.”

The study also found that broadband technology - as opposed to dial-up connection - changes what people do in fundamental ways.

These findings become even more significant with the realisation that the net is changing politics, as seen in the federal election last year. Just under half of users polled agreed the Internet has become important for the political campaign process.

Like the Human Genome Project, this large-scale study of the net “is an ambitious, collaborative, worldwide attempt to map something that was until very recently unthinkable,”

Thomas claimed. He believed it has the potential “to tell us a great deal about who we now are - or more precisely, who Australians are becoming in the new era of networks”.

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