The Personal News Cycle: A Focus on African American and Hispanic News Consumers

The Media Insight Project, a collaboration between the American Press Institute and the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, conducted a nationally representative survey of 1,492 adults.

The predicted digital divide, in which people of color would be left behind in the use of technology, is not playing out as many of those forecasting the digital future anticipated, at least not when it comes to news, according to a new survey released today.

The two largest minority groups in the United States—African Americans and Hispanics—are in many ways using digital technology for news at similar rates as the American population overall. Yet these Americans do not believe that the growth of web and mobile media has fulfilled the promise of more coverage, and more accurate coverage, of underserved ethnic communities.

This study is the second by the Media Insight Project. The first study, released in March of 2014, found that, rather than demographics such as age and political orientation guiding news coverage, the topic of the story largely determines where people go to learn about events and what path they take to get there.

The new report, which includes previously unreleased data, adds a new dimension to prior findings by probing the news consumption habits of African American and Hispanic adults nationwide and comparing them to adults nationwide, as well as to non-Hispanic whites alone. It also adds new questions about ethnic news and news consumption.

Even though the classic concerns about a digital divide based on connectedness do not fully describe the landscape, the survey finds some important differences among racial and ethnic groups when it comes to news consumption. Those differences mainly have to do with where people go for news, and potentially the availability of news, as well as the topics about which they are concerned.

The nationally representative telephone survey of 1,492 adults, including an oversample of 358 Hispanic adults and 318 non-Hispanic African American adults, was conducted from January 9 through February 16, 2014.

About the Media Insight Project
The Media Insight Project is a new collaboration between the American Press Institute and the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research with the objective of conducting high-quality, innovative research meant to inform the news industry and the public about various important issues facing journalism and the news business. The Media Insight Project brings together the expertise of both organizations and their respective partners, and involves collaborations among key staff at the American Press Institute, NORC at the University of Chicago, and The Associated Press.