Newspaper delivery workers might want to start job hunting. A new study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project indicates that getting news online is one of the leading – and quickly rising – activities among online Americans.

Pew’s Generations Online in 2010 report surveyed Americans from 12 to over 74 years old to find out which activities dominate their time online. Email and search marketers may be glad to learn that checking inboxes and using search engines were the two leading online activities, respectively.

Getting news online proved to be the fourth most common online activity, practiced by 75 percent of overall U.S. internet users. News gathering was a more common activity than certain routine tasks, including taking care of online banking or listening to music.

According to Pew, keeping up with news online is becoming more mainstream among users of all age groups. For instance, millennial online news readership has increased by a modest 2 percent to 76 percent since 2008, while older baby boomers have increased by 7 percent for a total of 76 percent readership. The generation of Americans between the ages of 65 and 73 has increased online news readership by 11 percent to include 67 percent of this demographic.

The research firm also notes that news behaviors are changing. Americans are increasingly likely to share news with friends, receive it through portable devices, look for more personalized content and leave comments, thereby engaging brands that offer news. With this in mind, marketers might want to consider offering their target audiences original, tailored news content.

As Brafton has reported, journalistic content is proven to pay off. CNN’s Power of News and Recommendation study reveals that nearly one-third of consumers favor brands affiliated with news.