Mobile journalism
Credit: Image by Thinkstock

If there was ever any doubt that mobile is the medium of choice for people reading news online, Pew's latest State of the News Media report clears it up once and for all.

Of the top 50 highest-traffic outlets included in the report into US media trends, published yesterday, 39 got most visits to their sites and associated apps from mobile.

However, in terms of time, these visits tended to be much shorter on average than if the reader were browsing from a desktop computer.

Pew's research analysed ComScore audience data from early 2015 for news websites spanning public broadcasting and digital-only outlets, legacy print, cable, network and international providers.

Half of the sites saw longer time-on-site stats from desktop readers, while the split between mobile and desktop was roughly equal for 15 sites.

Just 10 sites saw their longest average visits from mobile users, with the CNN network in the top spot.

However, several legacy news outlets also had more mobile time-on-site than desktop, including the LA Times and the Chicago Tribune, as well as digital natives like Vice and the sports site Bleacher Report.

Average minutes per visit for January 2015

Pew – mobile time on site
Screenshot from Pew's State of the News Media report 2015

Other highlights of the report include podcast listenership, which Pew notes achieved a "milestone moment" with the release of Serial, the high school murder whodunnit that became the fastest podcast to reach five million streams or downloads in iTunes, ever.

In January, 17 per cent of Americans said they had listened to a podcast in the last month, up 2 per cent from January 2014, and almost double the podcast listening percentage (9 per cent) from 2008.

And mobile is also leading the way in this area. Of the 2.6 billion podcast downloads from Libsyn, one of the largest commercial podcast-hosting sites, 63 per cent went to mobile devices.

Meanwhile, newspaper readership continue to decline, with both weekday and Sunday circulations falling by around three per cent between 2014 and 2013.

Of those who read newspapers, more than half (56 per cent) do so exclusively in print, while 11 per cent also read the printed product via desktop and mobile apps.

Free daily newsletter

If you like our news and feature articles, you can sign up to receive our free daily (Mon-Fri) email newsletter (mobile friendly).