Local newspapers? Humbug, says America
September 26, 2011
Local newspapers don’t earn much respect from a majority of Americans, a new Pew Research Center survey reveals.
Most of the 2,000 people interviewed for the survey said they wouldn’t miss their local paper if it disappeared. They also said they wouldn’t have any trouble finding pertinent news if their local paper no longer existed.
Online news services, such as CalCoastNews, are gaining rapidly in favor among younger readers, although websites produced by newspapers and television stations “do not score highly as a relied-upon information source on any topics.”
“This move by younger users to rely on the Internet for local information puts considerable pressure on traditional news sources,” the report said. Although most new companies have “moved online with ambitious website and social media strategies,” evidence exists that more people are finding specialty websites a preferable way to find local news.
The survey said Americans are turning to an ever-widening range of news sources, and word of mouth continues to be a major source of many people’s daily information intake.
People said they scoured their newspaper and online news services for everything from community and crime news to arts and culture, social services, zoning and development.
Newspapers tied with Internet sources for news on housing, schools and jobs, and with TV for local political news.
Among the survey’s other findings:
- Fifty percent of adults use mobile devices to get local news and information. Information about restaurants and other activities is a popular category.
- Only 17 percent of adults said they get local information from social networking sites such as Facebook at least once a month.
- 55 percent of those surveyed said they get local news and information by word of mouth at least once a week.
- Although many people get news online, the websites of newspapers and TV stations “do not score highly as a relied-upon information source on any topics.”
- Nearly half of those surveyed said they don’t have a “favorite” local news source.