Americans Using Wide Range of News Platforms

Americans Using Wide Range of News Platforms

Here are some new, compelling insights about local and community news consumption in America today.

Americans chose a wide range of platforms for local news and information, and where they turn varies considerably depending on subject matter and age, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and Internet & American Life Project:

  • Most Americans, including more tech-savvy adults under age 40, blend both new and traditional sources to get their
    information. This indicates a richer and more nuanced ecosystem of community news and information.
  • Americans tend to rely on local TV news for just a few topics—mainly weather, breaking news, and to a lesser degree, traffic.
  • Younger adults rely on local television less, indicating more vulnerability for TV’s future.
  • Most Americans (69%) say that if their local newspaper no longer existed, it would not have a major impact on their ability to keep up with community information and news.
  • However, newspapers play a larger role in people’s lives than previously realized.
  • Newspapers (both the print and online versions, though primarily print) rank first or tie for first as the source people rely on most for 11 of the 16 different kinds of local information asked about—more topics than any other media source.
  • The Web generally is a main source for information about restaurants and other local businesses.
  • The Internet is tied with newspapers as a top source for material about housing, jobs and schools—all areas that place a special value on consumer input.
  • Looking at the 79% of Americans who are online, the internet is the first or second most relied-upon source for 15 of the 16 local topics examined.
  • For adults under 40, the web is first for 11 of the top 16 topics—and a close second on four others.

What is the point for your brand and strategic PR plans?

  • Your media relations strategy will benefit from a multi-media approach – all platforms are meaningful, especially for the shareability of news across platforms.
  • You will benefit from seriously considering newspapers, especially related to community relations programs.
  • Be aware that TV is very local and has an expanding news hole with plenty opportunities for local, well-conceived community-oriented pitches.
  • Net, net, net – keep thinking of how Internet news affects you and create compelling and relevant video to tell your story.

How do you think this new information will affect your PR efforts? Do you find similar or opposing insights in your daily work with local media?


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