When news breaks, most Americans seek a second, trusted source for more info

When Americans first learn about a breaking news story, 83 percent seek out a second source to get more information, new research says.

Half of them turned to a different type of platform (i.e., heard the news on TV then went online to read more) for follow-up, and of the people who went online, 60 percent turned to a traditional news outlet like The New York Times, CNN or Fox News.

Traditional news outlets beat out Web-native sites like HuffPost, social media and search as the second online source to follow up on big news.


Even though a majority (53 percent) of digital news consumers said they get information daily from sites like Huffington Post and the Drudge Report, they choose established news outlets as a second source for breaking news, which they value for their credibility and deeper reporting.

This news ought to slow the risky race to be first with breaking news, as getting it right counts more than speed to news consumers.

The data comes from a survey of 3,022 U.S. adults commissioned by The New York Times to study how Americans get and share news across all kinds of media platforms. Our story about the study has more analysis and findings about the roles of news outlets, social media and mobile devices.

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  • Max Zimmerman

    Somewhat comforting … the only problem is if CNN is your second choice it’s nearly a lock that they will be at commercial. So, what’s left? Fox and MSNBC? It’s tough. Seriously; CNN does one story and goes to commercial, back for one more story and back to commercial — they have allowed Fox to fill the void. Too bad cable doesn’t run BBC 24 hours a day.

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