Hot Docs: Internet Tops Newspapers; Funding Nonprofits

Today's selection of timely reports.

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More Americans Turn to Internet for News, Pew Says: Forty percent of Americans say they get most of their news by reading it on the Internet. That's according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. It's the first time newspapers have fallen behind the Internet; just 35 percent of those polled named newspapers as a primary source. Television was named by 70 percent of respondents, but there's a big generation gap there: Among Americans under 30, television and the Internet are equally popular. The poll also asked which news stories people had followed most closely this year. The presidential election came in fourth, behind a trio of pressing economic stories: the financial crisis, this summer's high gas prices, and the Wall Street bailout. Surprisingly, given that American soldiers are fighting and dying abroad, neither the war in Iraq nor the war in Afghanistan made the top of the list.

Investing in Human Infrastructure: As President-elect Barack Obama wrestles with how best to stimulate the economy, one analyst implores him not to forget nonprofit institutions, the nation's "human infrastructure." Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution advises the incoming administration to allocate a tenth of the proposed stimulus package to nonprofit groups, which she says are well positioned to use the funds effectively. These groups are diverse in size, geography, and function, and they impact the "welfare of communities and individuals" directly, Sawhill says. She admits that decisions about how funds should be used and who should get them will be necessary but contends that "it would be unwise to leave this sector out of any initiative to restore the health of the economy." Nonprofits, Sawhill argues, work with the country's "soft infrastructure," which "needs to be preserved as much if not more than the hard infrastructure that is currently getting so much attention."