Online Growing as Local News Source, But TV Still on Top

WASHINGTON—Local news is not immune from the digital revolution, as evident from a recent survey from Pew Research Center. Receiving responses from nearly 35,000 adults, the gap between Americans that prefer to get their local news from television vs. online now only stands at 4 percent, though TV still remains on top at 41 percent (online is 37 percent).

However, when it comes to frequency, more people still get news from their local TV stations. The results showed that 38 percent of respondents often received local news from a local station, with radio and daily newspapers the next popular (20 and 17 percent, respectively). Online-only sources only had 5 percent say they often get their local news that way, with a total 23 percent saying they ever get their news online.

Still, digital is a growing source for news. The survey found that 89 percent of respondents got at least some local news digitally, with 41 percent doing so often. The breakdown on online sources is about even between websites/mobile apps and social media.

Though if TV stations are the preferred source for viewers, more than three-quarters (76 percent) still do so the old-fashioned, analog way.

Among some of the other key findings from Pew were that the free content model is the top source for local news at 49 percent; only 14 percent said they paid for local news either through subscription, donation or membership. Also, viewers trust their local news sources, with 71 percent saying they are doing a good job reporting the news accurately.

To read the full report, visit Pew Research center’s website.