Increased broadband access is inspiring an ethos of “my news, my way” among younger Americans, which should allow media relations specialists greater ability to reach targeted audiences. Another added benefit: these audiences are likely to be more engaged than their elders who skim the morning paper on the way to work.

This information comes from a recent report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, which notes that as many as 50 million people now get their daily news from the web. In particular, broadband users under 36 years of age are less likely to consult non-web news sources. Older people are more likely to use the Internet in conjunction with traditional “mass” news outlets or to avoid the web altogether.

The Pew report highlights several potentially positive developments for media relations practitioners:

  • about 40 percent of home broadband subscribers are “high-powered” users, going online seven or more times per day, often to check news

  • 71 percent of high-powered users get news online on the average day—three times the rate of other high-speed users

  • 59 percent on the average day get news from local TV.

It is worth pointing out that 72 percent of these “high-powered” users report getting news from both local and national TV on the average day. Although the survey didn’t ask where respondents get most of their news, it is clear that, the Internet is a prime news source for a sizable and influential group of broadband users.

With even casual Internet users programming their own “news alerts” in ever-greater numbers, the importance of relying on national publications is diminished. So even if your company gets covered by an online news outlet that doesn’t have one-third the reach of The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, you have the potential to score a major coverage within your target audience.