FOR THE WEEK OF OCT. 03, 2011
Where do Americans mostly turn for local news? It depends on what we want to know, study shows
Newspapers are relied on for information about local schools, social services and arts or cultural events. Find an example from one of these categories.
Papers also report on other types of media. Look for an article or listing that involves TV, radio or the Internet.
Pick something in the paper or its website that you feel is tough to find on TV or at an online-only news site.
The second most widely followed source of local news isn't the newspaper, Internet or radio. It's the oldest, most basic form of human communication: word of mouth. A new national study highlights the importance of schoolmates, neighbors, friends and co-workers for sharing information. Word of mouth outranks every new and traditional form of news media except local TV news as the most frequently consulted news source in a report last week from the Pew Research Center and Knight Foundation.
Researchers found that we rely on multiple local sources and media, some mass and some personal. TV is the main source for three popular topics -- weather, traffic and breaking news. Newspapers and their websites rank first or tied for first as a relied-upon source for 11 of 16 local topics surveyed, including schools, cultural events and social services.
Among Americans ages 18-39, the Internet (excluding sites owned by newspapers and TV stations) ranks as a top information source for most of the 16 local subjects studied. Still, the report adds: "The data show that newspapers play a much bigger role in people's lives than many may realize. The survey found that 50 percent of people read newspapers or their Web sites for local information at least once a week. People tend to get a much wider array of information from newspapers than from television."
Researcher says: "Each piece of the local information system has special roles to play. . . . Very old and very new sources [are] blending." -- Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Pew Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism
Blogger says: "Much has been made of how Millenials are leading a trend away from traditional news consumption. That may be true. But don't count out some of their older, more bogged-down peers. We parents are probably opting out of following news just as much, if not more." -- Janice D'Arcy, Washington Post reporter and parenting blogger
Social media role: "Only very small percentages named social networks as the places they turn to most for any of the 16 topics areas. For instance, the topics on which social networks ranked highest were local restaurants and community events -- with just 2 percent of adults naming these sites as a key source." -- Report issued Sept. 26
Front Page Talking Points Archive