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Pew Survey: Local TV Is Top News Source With Engaged Voters

Local voters who are most actively engaged in their communities also get more of their news from local TV than any other source.

That is according to a new Pew Research/Knight Foundation poll. "The civically engaged – people who vote, volunteer and connect with those around them – play a key role in community life. Thus, how and to what degree they stay informed about their communities carries added weight," the study said.

Among those who always vote, 63% said they get community news at least several times a week from local TV, with local radio second at 44% who said they get news there at least a few times a week. By comparison, only 10% said that about social networking sites.

Among those who say they always vote, 68% also said their local media are in touch with their communities, though only 27% said they trust the info they get there "a lot."

Among those who feel "highly attached" to their communities, 63% get their news at least several times a week from TV, the top once again, followed by local newspapers and word of mouth, tied at 45%.

On the "neighborliness scale," among those that say they know all their neighbors, 60% said they get information at least several times a week from local TV news, with local radio again second at 43%.

Among those who live in politically diverse communities, the percentage was 52% for local TV news and 36% for local radio, again numbers one and two.

The study was conducted Jan. 12 to Feb. 8, 2016, among 4,654 respondents (4,339 via the web and 315 via mail). The margin of error was plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

“We’ve been inundated with national election news this year, but local elections, for many, may have a more immediate impact on daily life. By demonstrating that people who are more likely to vote in local elections are heavy consumers of local news, the study reinforces the importance of local journalism,” said Jon Sotsky, Knight Foundation director for strategy and assessment, in a statement on the study's release.