How Young Adults Get News and Information About Their Local Communities


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Associate Director for Research Kristen Purcell will be discussing Pew Internet's groundbreaking data on local news information ecosystems at Ohio State's Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society's 2012 symposium, “The Future of Online Journalism: News, Community and Democracy in the Digital Age.”

Published in: Technology, News & Politics

How Young Adults Get News and Information About Their Local Communities

  1. 1. How Young Adults GetNews and Information About Their Local Communities Kristen Purcell, Ph.D. Associate Director, Pew InternetI/S: Journal of Law and Policy for theInformation Society 2012 Symposium March 29-30, 2012 Ohio State University
  2. 2. • Part of the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan “fact tank” based in Washington, DC that provides high quality, objective data to thought leaders and policymakers• PRC is funded primarily by the Pew Charitable Trusts• Data for this talk is from nationally representative telephone survey of 2,251 U.S. adults age 18+ (on landlines and cell phones) conducted in January 2011• The survey was done in partnership with Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, and was funded by the Knight Foundation
  3. 3. What Makes This Study Unique? Past research asked a single question:“Where do you go most often to get local news?” We asked: “What source do you rely onmost?” for 16 different local topics___________________________________ “Local newspaper” = print and web version “TV news” = broadcast and website “Internet” = web-only sources such as search engines, special topic sites, and social networking sites
  4. 4. Overall Headlines from the Local News Survey The local news ecosystem is nuanced and complex; people rely on different platforms for different topics Local TV remains the most used source for local news, yet adults rely on it primarily for just 3 subjects—weather, breaking news and traffic Adults turn to local newspapers for a wider range of topics than any other source, yet for topics followed by fewer people The internet is now the top source on subjects such as education, local businesses and restaurants/bars/clubsFor the 79% of adults who go online, the internet is the 1st or 2nd most relied-upon source for 15 of 16 local topics For adults under 40, the web ranks first for 11 of the top 16 topics—and a close second on four others
  5. 5. Popular Local TopicsThe most popular local topics… weather (89%) breaking news (80%) local politics (67%) crime (66%) The least popular… government activities (42%) local job openings (39%) social services (35%) zoning and development (30%)
  6. 6. % Who Ever Get Information About Each Local Topic Age 18-29 Age 30+ Local politics, elections, Local politics, elections, campaigns (55%) campaigns (71%) Other local government Other local government activity (23%) activity (48%) Crime (53%) Crime (70%) Arts/Cultural events (53%) Arts/Cultural events (62%) Restaurants, clubs, bars Restaurants, clubs, bars (65%) (53%) Taxes and tax issues (32%) Taxes and tax issues (51%) Zoning, development (16%) Zoning, development (35%)
  7. 7. Source by Topic:The Preferred Source for 16 Local News Topics
  8. 8. Disruption Lies AheadAge 18-39 Age 40+ weather politics restaurants crime local businesses arts/cultural events The local businesses internet schools is the community events restaurants main traffic source taxes for these housing topics local government jobs social serviceszoning/development
  9. 9. Young Adults Differ In Many Other Respects Age 18-29 Age 30+ 57% follow local news closely 76% follow local news closely most of the time most of the time53% follow national news closely 73% follow national news most of the time closely most of the time 35% enjoy keeping up with the 61% enjoy keeping up with the news “a lot” news “a lot” 41% have a favorite local news 59% have a favorite local news source source16% have a paid subscription to a 37% have a paid subscription to local print newspaper a local print newspaper18% have a mobile app that helps 9% have a mobile app that helpsthem get information about their them get information about their local community local community
  10. 10. % Who Get Local News Weekly From Each Source Age 18-29 Age 30+ PRINT local paper (28%) PRINT local paper (44%) Local TV broadcast (57%) Local TV broadcast (75%) Website about local Website about local community (17%) community (8%) Person or organization you Person or organization you follow on a social networking follow on a social networking site (19%) site (9%) Word of mouth (64%) Word of mouth (53%) Internet search (56%) Internet search (37%)
  11. 11. Mobile is Slowly Becoming a Local News Source 47% of adults use mobile devices to get local news and information of some kind, yet it’s still largely supplemental Among 18-29 year-olds, 70% get local news and information on their mobile devices18-29 year-olds have more varied local news toolkits….. 8% use traditional local sources only (31% of older adults)19% use traditional + online local sources (27% of older adults) 63% use traditional + online + mobile (33% of older adults) 2% use online and/or mobile only (1% of older adults)
  12. 12. 41% of Adults are “Local News Participators” 55% of 18-29 year-olds are local news participators 25% share links to local stories/videos 16% comment on local news stories or blogs they read online 16% post news or info about their local community on a social networking site like Facebook 8% contribute to online discussions or message boards about their community 6% “tag” online local news content 5% contribute articles, opinion pieces, photos SNS are not yet a main source for local info or videos about their local community onlineSocial networks ranked highest as a main source for… 2% post news or info about their local local restaurants (2%) community on Twitter community events (2%)
  13. 13. All data available at Kristen Purcell, Ph.D. Associate Director, Research Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project Twitter: @pewinternet @kristenpurcell