July 31, 2014

New Report from Pew Internet: How People Learn About Their Local Community

share save 171 16 New Report from Pew Internet: How People Learn About Their Local Community

Title: How People Learn About Their Local Community ||| (PDF Version)
by: Tom Rosenstiel, Amy Mitchell, Kristen Purcell, Lee Rainie
Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project

Direct to Interactive Chart: What Sources Do People Rely on MOST For Information About…

From the Report Overview:

Contrary to much of the conventional understanding of how people learn about their communities, Americans turn to a wide range of platforms to get local news and information, and where they turn varies considerably depending on the subject matter and their age, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and Internet & American Life Project, produced in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation that asks about local information in a new way.

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Overall, the picture revealed by the data is that of a richer and more nuanced ecosystem of community news and information than researchers have previously identified.

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The survey also yields some striking findings for newspapers. 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 information and news about their community.

Yet the data show that newspapers play a much bigger role in people’s lives than many may realize. 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.1 But most of these topics—many of which relate to civic affairs such as government—taxes, etc., are ones followed by fewer Americans on a regular basis.

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The survey also sheds light on the emerging role of the internet as people seek local news and information. The internet is defined here as web-only online destinations. For adults generally, the internet is a main source for information about restaurants and other local businesses, and it 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. Yet when one looks 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.

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In all, the data in a new national survey show that the majority (64%) of American adults use at least three different types of media every week to get news and information about their local community—and 15% rely on at least six different kinds of media weekly.

And nearly half of all American adults, 45%, say they do not even have a favorite local news source. Instead, in the modern local news information system, different media outlets, and in many cases entire platforms, are gaining footholds for specific topic areas.

 New Report from Pew Internet: How People Learn About Their Local Community

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Note: In case you’re wondering, we searched the report for the words library and librarian. We found zero results which is unfortunate but not all that unexpected since the report focuses on various types of media. Of course, we can always do more to let people know that a lot of local info is available via their local library or libraries.

Complete Report

Title: How People Learn About Their Local Community ||| (PDF Version)
by: Tom Rosenstiel, Amy Mitchell, Kristen Purcell, Lee Rainie
Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project

Direct to Interactive Chart: What Sources Do People Rely on MOST For Information About…

 

 

 

 

share save 171 16 New Report from Pew Internet: How People Learn About Their Local Community
Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.