New report: 72% of Americans follow local news closely
Most adults (72%) follow local news closely, and many rely heavily on local newspapers to keep them informed. Yet, younger local news followers differ from their older counterparts in some important ways, potentially signaling changes to come in the local news environment.
Nearly three quarters of American adults (72%) say they follow local news closely “most of the time, whether or not something important is happening.” On the whole, these local news enthusiasts are more wedded to their newspapers than others, relying on them for much of their local news and a full third (32%) feeling it would have a major impact on their ability to get the information they want if their local paper vanished. Yet, younger local news followers differ from their older counterparts in some important ways, including less reliance on local papers, potentially signaling changes to come in the local news environment.
As a group, local news enthusiasts are more likely than others to prefer newspapers for almost all of 16 topics asked about in the survey—including crime, local politics, community events, arts and culture, local schools, taxes, government activity, restaurants, other local business, housing issues, job openings, and local zoning issues.
These are among the main findings in a January 2011 nationally-representative phone survey of 2,251 adults 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.