November 3, 2016

People who are strongly engaged in their communities and vote locally are more likely to follow local news, according to a new report.

The study, from the Pew Research Center and the Knight Foundation, uses responses from 4,339 people who were surveyed by web and 315 people by mail in January.

It examined five civic behaviors: Feeling attached to the community, regularly voting locally, participation in local groups and politics, how people rated their community and that community’s political diversity.

The first two, feeling attached and regular local voting, showed the highest ties with strong local news habits.

Image via Pew.

Image via Pew.

The report finds that one in five adults feels highly attached to their communities and of that group, six in 10 follow local news closely.

Regardless of community attachment level, the report notes that equally low numbers of people get local news from social media. Those highly attached to their communities are also consuming a varied media diet.

  • Forty-four percent use three different sources regularly, including newspapers, radio and blogs.
  • They’re three times more likely to get news from their community paper a few times a week, compared with those who are unattached to the community.
  • Six in 10 get news from local TV.
  • Via Pew.

    Via Pew.

    The report also notes regular local voting is an indicator of strong local news consumption. Local voters, which make up more than a quarter of the population, follow neighborhood and local news closely. Like those highly satisfied with their community, they’re also getting news from diverse sources. And, again, regardless of voting habits, equally low numbers of people get local news from social media. Regular voting in national elections alone does also not equate to close ties with local news.

  • Four in 10 use at least three different sources for news each week.
  • Sixty three percent get their news from local television.
  • Regular local voters are more likely to view local news as trustworthy.
  • Via Pew.

    Via Pew.

    You can read the full report on Pew’s findings, including the influences of neighborliness, civic participation and political diversity, here.

Support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. Make a gift to Poynter today. The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and your gift helps us make good journalism better.
Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

More News

Back to News