A recent survey of 567 Montanans by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research analyzed the use of the internet for news in the state. According to Bill Whitsitt from The Greater Montana Foundation, which funded the study, the survey revealed some surprising results.

"More people in Montana had news bump into them or bumped into news on the internet than actually are searching for news on the internet," said Whitsitt. "This really opens up a whole different set of questions about news sources and how we receive news and how credible that news may be when we do receive it."

The survey also found that about 87 percent of Montanans are on the internet, and that a majority are online with their phones.

"Some 75% actually have smart phones," Whitsitt said. "The combination of using a smart phone along with computers and tablets and other devices has really boosted Montana's ability to use the internet both for news websites and also for social media."

The survey also tried to identify how Montanans judge the credibility of news with mixed results, many respondents struggled to answer the question. It found many were only getting news in an “echo-chamber” of posts from friends on the internet.

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