Pew on Local News Consumption

Pew Research released a new report on how people learn about their local communities.

As a placeblogger, this research was of particular interest to me, and I’d imagine the results are largely dependent on what is available across various mediums in different communities.

About the survey:

The biennial media consumption survey of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press similarly finds that local TV news is the medium most people turn to for news and information of any type. And this new survey, too, finds that local TV is the most frequently used medium for news and information, with 74% watching local newscasts or visiting local TV websites at least weekly, compared with 50% who turn to newspapers and their websites, 51% to radio (on air and online), and 47% who turn to web-only sources.

Sixteen categories were considered, along with eight mediums plus an ‘other’ group.

Arts/Culture, Breaking News, Community Events, Crime, Housing/Real Estate, Jobs, Local Business, Local Government, Local Politics, Restaurants/Clubs, Schools, Social Services, Taxes, Traffic, Weather, and Zoning/Development were the categories.

The mediums included Local newspaper, local TV, radio, internet, local government, word of mouth, bulletin or newsletter, mobile phone, and other sources.

I’ve found these to be top topic areas on my placeblog: Schools, Local Government, Local Politics, Taxes, Zoning, Community Events, Crime, and Cultural Events.

For all adults, the Local Newspaper is the source people rely on most for for Schools, Local Government, Taxes, Zoning, Community Events,  Crime and Cultural Events, making them the de facto top source for local, despite the viewership noted above.

Internet was strongest for Restaurants (1st over newspaper 28-17%), Local Business (1st over newspapers 28-18%), Weather (2nd to local tv 58-32%), Culture (2nd to newspaper 25-17%),  Schools (2nd to newspaper 21-18%), Jobs (2nd to newspaper 17-16%), Housing (2nd to newspaper 19-17%), and Politics (3rd behind TV and Newspaper 28-26-17%).

When considering age as under/over 40, the internet scores stronger and newspaper declines, but remains a frequent second to internet with local TV probably taking the biggest hit.

Of note is that, again as mentioned above, internet is internet only. If a newspaper web site is cited, it is considered under newspaper. The same is true if a person visits a web site related to a local TV station, it is placed under TV not under local TV.


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