Survey Finds Local TV News Surpasses Other Media In Trustworthiness

NEW YORK—A new survey finds that local television is the most trusted source of news and information among consumer, and that three-quarters of adults trust at least one local news brand in their market.

The survey, conducted by SmithGeiger for Hearst Television, found that local TV far surpasses any other news source—on air or on a digital platform—as a trusted news source.

"At a time when journalism is under unprecedented scrutiny, with consumers juggling an overwhelming number of providers and platforms from which to get information, quality and relevance matter more than ever," said Hearst Television SVP, News Barbara Maushard. "Local news teams are best positioned, as members of the communities they serve, to cover what matters to people within each and every community – and to get it right."

When it comes to trust, 73 percent of news consumers –69 percent of those 18 to 24 years of age and 74 percent of 25- to 49-year olds—trust at least one local TV news brand. Trust in local TV news also compares quite favorably to that in social media. While 74 percent of respondents use social media daily for news, social media sites are trusted by only 17 percent of consumers, the survey found.

The survey also asked respondents about how often they consume local TV news. A total of 81 percent of 18- to 49-year-old consumers view local TV news at least once a week on at least one platform. Sixty-three percent get their local TV news on a television at least once a week. Forty-nine percent watch TV news daily.

Even younger adults watch local TV news, with 51 percent of those 18 to 24 years old and 59 percent of 25- to 34-year olds saying they get local TV news on a television at least once a week.

For the survey, SmithGeiger conducted 2,069 online interviews with media consumers in eight Hearst television markets. 

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.