Study: More accessed Web for war news

Story as originally posted at The Detroit News –

17% went online for main source of data, survey shows

DETROIT — More Americans with Internet access used the Internet as their primary source of news during the war than in previous major events, including the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to a recent survey.

The study, conducted by Pew Internet & American Life Project in Washington, D.C., surveyed 1,600 online adults during the war and showed that 17 percent used the Internet as their principal source for war news, compared with 3 percent after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Survey respondents said the Internet gave them a variety of viewpoints — including foreign standpoints — and up-to-the-minute news.

Television continued to reign supreme, with 87 percent of online users listing that medium as their primary war news source. Radio and newspapers trailed in the low 20 percent-range.

About 24 percent to 26 percent of respondents used the Internet for news on a typical day before the war, the study said.

During the first days of the war and days preceding the war, 33 percent to 37 percent of online users sought war news. Seventy-two percent of Internet users supported the war compared with 22 percent who opposed the war.

War protesters in Metro Detroit have used the Internet to coordinate protests and update other protesters on war and post-war news.

“Television is controlled by a few corporations. It’s not nearly as democratic as the Internet,” said Jim Embry, director of the James & Grace Lee Boggs Center in Detroit. The nonprofit, which is part of a loose network of local and international activist groups, sends out news alerts through an e-mail listserv.

“Many people that are not on the Internet and not in the (peace) movement are not aware of the depth of the movement here and overseas,” said Visakha Kawasaki, who helps organize Michigan Citizens for Peace in Flint.