From city dwellers to rural residents, roughly 70% of U.S. adults follow local news closely most of the time -- according to a new report from the Pew Research Center...
Pew found that "Most adults follow what is happening in their local communities, and the local news ecosystem is complex. Rather than relying on one or two main sources of local news, most adults use a wide variety of both traditional and online sources depending on which local topic they are seeking information about."
How easy is it for Americans to follow local news? According to Pew, slight majorities of people in cities and suburbs say it's easier for them to keep up with local news and information today than it was five years ago. In contrast: "Slightly less than half of rural residents (46%) say it is easier today to keep up with local news.... This may be due, in part, to the rural Americans' reliance on traditional media for gathering news and information. And it might also reflect the relatively limited access their community has to broadband and/or the relative newness of broadband availability."
The most popular local news topics are:
- Breaking news
- Politics, campaigns and elections (roughly tied with crime
- Arts and culture events (tied with local business)
- Schools and education (roughly tied with community and neighborhood events)
Pew noted some differences in these interest levels by community type. Also: "With the exception of taxes, rural residents are less likely to follow all of these topics."
Mobile news is most popular in cities and suburbs. Pew found that 60% of large city and suburban residents "use mobile devices to find a local restaurant, compared with half or fewer residents of small cities/towns or rural areas. Those living in the suburbs are most likely to use mobile devices to get coupons or discounts for local stores, while large city residents are most likely to use their mobile devices to get information on local traffic or transportation."
The data was gathered by phone survey with over 2250 U.S. adults in January 2011. Bear in mind that digital media (especially mobile media) trends evolve very quickly, so some of the survey's data about these topics may already be out of date.
The News and Tools for Digital Innovators blog is made possible by a grant to USC Annenberg from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.