Study: Civic engagement strongly tied to local news habits

screen-shot-2016-11-26-at-10-05-17-pmThe Pew Research Center has released an intriguing new study that finds local voters and those who feel attached to their communities stand out, and how they stay informed  via local news organizations plays a key role in their community life.

The study, in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation reveals that “overall, the civically engaged are indeed more likely than the less engaged to use and value local news. But two particular aspects of civic engagement stand out as most closely associated with local news habits: a strong connection to one’s community and always voting in local elections. Americans with one of these two attributes, the study finds, consistently display stronger local news habits across a range of measures: news interest, news intake (the number and types of sources they turn to) and news attitudes – their views of local news organizations. [Read more…]

Pew: 72% of Americans Follow Local News Closely

 

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.

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