Americans Prefer Local TV as Top News Source
WASHINGTON: Local TV stations are the preferred source of
news for the folks who responded to a survey released today by the Pew Research
Center. Of the 2,259 adults queried, 78 percent said they get news from a local
TV station. Very few people stuck with just one platform, however.
Of those queried, 92 percent said they got news from several sources,
including national TV, local TV, the Internet, local newspapers, radio, and
national newspapers. Forty-six percent of those surveyed said they get news
from four to six media platforms on a typical day. Just 7 percent check a
single news platform on a typical day.
Six in 10 said they used the ’Net in combination with other platforms. After
local TV stations, national networks--broadcast and cable--were the preferred
source of news, cited by 73 percent of those surveyed. Folks next went to the
’Net for news--61 percent said they “get some kind of news online,” the Pew
Radio was the fourth most popular source of news, with 54 percent; then local
newspapers with 50 percent; and national newspapers like The New York Times and USA
Today rounded out the top six sources with 17 percent of people citing
Pew researchers called the way people obtain news “foraging and
opportunism.” E.g., “they seem to access news when the spirit moves them or
they have a chance to check up on headlines.”
Similar to the way people typically use a limited number of TV channels,
preference of online news sites wasn’t random. Most folks--57 percent--said
they used between two and five sites most often; 11 percent said they checked
more than five. Just 21 percent said they relied on a single Web site for news,
while 65 percent said they didn’t have a favorite site.
The most popular online news subjects are the weather, followed by 81 percent
of Internet news users; national events with 73 percent; health and medicine,
66 percent; business and the economy, 64 percent; international events, 62
percent; and science and technology, 60 percent.
The survey also revealed a demand for more news in some areas. Science news and
discoveries topped the chart, with 44 percent of folks saying they’d like more
info in those areas. Forty-one percent said they wanted more news on religion
and spirituality; 39 percent, on health and medicine; 39 percent on state
government, and 38 percent wanted more news about their neighborhoods and their
Other “new metrics” stood out in the survey, the Pew folks said.
Portability, for example. One-third of those surveyed access news on cell
phones. Personalization is another characteristic of news in the digital age.
Twenty-eight percent of folks said they had customized news sources.
Contribution yielded another striking figure; 37 percent of Internet users in
the survey said they had “contributed to the creation of news, commented about
it, or disseminated it via postings on social media sites like Facebook or
In fact, 80 percent of respondents said they’d shared news stories online,
feeding into 72 percent who said they followed news for the enjoyment of
talking to others about it, and the 69 percent who considered it a civic
“People use their social networks and social networking technology to filter,
assess, and react to news,” the survey results stated.
RATES OF CONSUMPTION
In terms of how much news people use, more than half of those surveyed said
they followed the news “all or most of the time.” Another 25 percent followed
it at least “some of the time.” Asked specifically about their news habits
on “a typical day,” 99 percent said they got news from at least one of the top
six sources mentioned earlier--local and national TV, local and national
newspapers, Internet and radio.
Pew ask asked people if news topics
were easier or harder to follow today compared to five years ago. Fifty-five
percent said it was easier; 18 percent, more difficult. One-fourth said there
was no difference. At the same time, 70 percent agreed with the statement that:
“The amount of news and information available from different sources today is
QUALITY OF COVERAGE
The verdict on quality of news was mixed. Sixty-three percent agreed that
the major news organizations did a good job, yet 72 percent said most sources
are “biased in their coverage.” Pew said the assessment was split down party
“Liberals and Democrats are more likely to say the big news organizations do a
good job on subjects that matter to them, while conservatives and Republicans
are the ones most likely to see coverage as biased,” the nonprofit said.
Hardcore news consumers are graying: 70 percent of folks 65 or older
followed news all or most of the time; for folks 50-to-64, it was 65 percent;
56 percent for those 30-49; and 35 percent among people 18-to-29.
“Those who are well-educated, relatively well-off financially, and older are
more likely than others to say they follow the news all or most of the time,”
the results stated.”
The full Pew report is available at the Pew Internet Web site.-- Deborah D. McAdams
(Image of a KNBC-TV remote news team by Shavar Ross)
More on platform migration:
Feb. 15, 2010: “Merging Social Media
Social media newsgathering is a double-edged sword. The immediacy that
makes Twitter useful in covering breaking stories also makes it vulnerable to
December 9. 2009: “Medium Shift: Radio to
The growth of Internet radio has sparked a desire to stream not only audio
from radio stations, but video content as well. More and more stations are
installing television production equipment into their studios to broadcast
their morning shows not just to car or Internet radios, but to flat-screen
computer monitors in cubicles and offices all over the country.
September 2, 2009: “Mobile Video Use Up 70 Percent”
Americans are watching more video in more places and doing more stuff
September 1, 2009: “FCC Seeks Multiplatform
“The Child Safe Viewing Act directed the Commission to consider advanced
blocking technologies that “may be appropriate across a wide variety of
distribution platforms” and “may be appropriate across a wide variety of
devices capable of receiving video or audio programming.”
May 20, 2009: “TV Rules Among Three
Television remains the screen of choice among Americans, Nielsen said.
During the first quarter, the 285 million Americans who watched TV did so for
an average of 153 hours a month, up 1.2 percent from last year.