For Local News, Americans Embrace Digital, Still Want Strong Community Connection
Local TV stations retain a strong hold in the local news ecosystem
The digital era is making its mark on local news. Nearly as many Americans today say they prefer to get their local news online as say they prefer to do so through the television set, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of 34,897 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 15-Nov. 8, 2018, on the Center’s American Trends Panel and Ipsos’s KnowledgePanel. The 41 percent of Americans who say they prefer getting their local news via TV and the 37 percent who prefer it online far outpace those who prefer a printed newspaper or the radio (13 percent and 8 percent, respectively).
Even as the preference for digital delivery creeps up on that for news via TV, local television stations retain a strong hold in the local news ecosystem. They top the list of nine types of local news providers, with 38 percent of U.S. adults saying they often get news from a local television station. That is followed by 20 percent who often turn to local radio stations and 17 percent who rely on local daily newspapers.
Next come a range of less traditional sources such as online forums or discussion groups (12 percent), local organizations such as school groups or churches (8 percent), and community newsletters or listservs (8 percent). While individually these less traditional sources garner far smaller audiences than the big three (local TV, daily papers and radio stations), together they add up: 28 percent of the public often gets news from at least one of the six less traditional providers asked about.
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