Poll: More Viewers Get Their Local News from TV Than From Any Other Source

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STAMFORD, Conn.—A new poll brings good news to local TV stations as the U.S. mid-term elections head into the fall. According to a new Spectrum News/Morning Consult poll on sentiments about and trust of local news, nearly 50% cited TV as their most important source of local news, more than any other outlet. In addition, the vast majority of Americans (87%) are satisfied with the coverage of local news in their community, and 83% find local news coverage on television and radio to be most trustworthy. Spectrum News is the brand for a slate of cable news television channels owned by Charter Communications.

More than three-quarters (77%) of respondents think that local news provides viewers with important information about their community, as well as critical national news. And 72% of respondents agreed that local news helps enact positive change in their local community, while 63% feel local news holds businesses and government accountable.

Additionally, the poll found Americans overwhelmingly cited television (48%) as the most important source for local news, and more than half (62%) watch local news on television daily. News apps were second at 40% and social media was far behind, with only 17% of Americans ranking it as the most important news source. Among respondents, 9% rank newspapers as the most important source for local news, with 20% considering it the least important (what was left out of the results is the fact that many of the most popular news apps are from newspapers).

Not surprisingly, social media scored low marks for trustworthiness, with only 46% citing it as a trusted source; television and radio are the most trusted at 83%. In general, people feel more satisfied with their local news coverage because they are more familiar with local anchors in their community—77% of respondents said they feel reporters who live in their local community are more connected to relevant local news and information, and 82% feel local news reporters are trusted.

More than half of Americans (62%) watch local news on television daily, while 55% typically watch national news. Only 19% typically look to their printed local newspaper for news on a daily basis, while 15% seek printed national newspapers.

That trust for local television news is seen from both sides of the political aisle with 91% of Democrats and 79% Republicans citing local TV news as their most trusted source, while trust in social media among Democrats drops to 50%, and among Republicans to 44%.

“We have long known that investing in local journalism empowers and strengthens communities, and this poll demonstrates the vital role we play in the communities we serve,” said Mike Bair, Executive Vice President, Spectrum Networks.  “Over the past few years, we have steadily expanded our reach by launching digital newsrooms in more communities and enhancing our Spectrum News App, along with further investments in our existing newsrooms, making local journalism more accessible to the people who want and need it most. The health of our communities—and by extension, our politics, economy, and cultural life—depends on it.”

The poll was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of Spectrum Networks from June 17 to July 11, 2022. 5,000 adults were surveyed in the United States, which were the primary focus and target of this report. An additional 7,232 adults were surveyed in 13 different markets (New York City, Upstate New York, Worcester, MA, North Carolina, Orlando / Tampa FL, Ohio, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Dallas / Austin / San Antonio / El Paso, Texas, Los Angeles, CA, Maine, Hawaii, and St. Louis, MO) i

Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched digitalbroadcasting.com for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (www.tvtech.com), the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.