The Pew Research Center released results from its local news survey today, which found that nearly three quarters of Americans (72%) report following local news closely “most of the time, whether or not something important is happening.” Local newspapers are by far the source they rely on for much of the local information they need.
One-third of local news enthusiasts (32%) say it would have a major impact on them if their local newspaper no longer existed, compared with just 19% of those less interested in local news. Most likely to report a major impact if their newspaper disappeared are local news followers age 40 and older (35%), though even among younger local news followers 26% say losing the local paper would have a major impact on them.
Local news enthusiasts are more likely than others to prefer newspapers for almost all of 16 topics that were asked about in a survey, with the exception of weather and breaking news. Three-in-ten or more local news enthusiasts prefer newspapers for following crime, local politics, community events, or arts and culture. About one-quarter prefer newspapers when seeking information about local schools, taxes, government activity, other local business, and housing issues. Two-in-ten primarily use newspapers for following restaurants, job openings, or local zoning issues.
While this seems to be positive news for local newspapers, in many cases the reliance on newspapers is heaviest among local news enthusiasts age 40 and older, while younger local news followers rely more heavily on other sources. Specifically, among local news enthusiasts under age 40, the internet is the preferred source for eight of the 16 topics asked about, including:
- Local restaurants, clubs and bars
- Other local businesses
- Schools and education
- Local politics
- Arts and cultural events
- Community or neighborhood events
Read the full report for more details on these subjects:
- The demographics of local news enthusiasts
- Technology use
- How local news enthusiasts relate to and perceive their communities
- News consumption habits of local news enthusiasts
- Willingness to pay for the local paper, in print and online
- Topics of interests for local news enthusiasts