Of the 44% of the public who regularly go online while on the job, more than two-thirds (70%) check the news during the course of the day according to a recent Pew Research survey on media trends.
Now this isn't a big surprise. People are also online at work checking sports, checking porn, checking this blog for any exciting new updates. That they also check news and blogs and the like is to be expected.
And there is a political knowledge connection. The report notes that few in the public can answer the most basic of knowledge questions. However:
among those who regularly go online from work political knowledge is somewhat higher. Fully 28% are able to answer all three political knowledge questions correctly. Only 20% of this group answered all three questions incorrectly.
So keep checking the news from work. It's gotta help, even if it's on someone else's dime. Among the pubic at large, only 18% got them all right and 33% got all three questions wrong.
This does raise a few interesting questions, at least for me, about whether reading the news at work influences certain kinds of knowledge over others, such as big splash controversies versus more mundane stuff, like basic stands of candidates on issues. It's hard to say from this data, but this is probably an area ripe for research -- news consumption from work and how it differs from news consumption at home, and the consequences of either.
There ya go, aspiring PhD's, a dissertation waiting to be tackled. I'll wait for the check.