Study: TV Is Dominant News Source

National and local TV news was the dominant source people rely on for news topics they follow most closely, but engendering trust across all types of news outlets has become a tougher job.

Only 6% of people said they have a lot of confidence in the media, about the same as Congress and below most other institutions.

That is according to a study  by the Media Insight Project, a partnership of The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute, being presented at the Newspaper Association of America mediaXchange 2016 conference in Washington.

The study found that a third of the respondents (31%) cited national TV news, followed by 24% for local TV station news. Radio was next at 10%, followed by 9% for nich or specialty publications, 7% for local or national (or international) newspapers, and 7% for online-only news sources.

Those who rely on local or national TV are more likely to be looking for in-depth reporting (72%), than those who rely on specialized publications (62%) or online (57%).

But more are looking to TV to reinforce their views (37%) than newspapers (23%).

Local TV news watchers are also the most likely to say they want to see people in their community and who are like them in the local news.

On the digital media side, the three most important factors were that the ads not interfere with the news content (63%), that the app loads fast (63%) and that the content fits their mobile phones (69%). yet, only one in for say they trust that news source a great deal or a lot.

About half (51%) said they get some news from social media, with Facebook the most popular source by far (87%), followed by YouTube (21%), Twitter (18%) and Instagram (13%).

The survey was of a random sample of adults 18-plus (1,603 via the Web, and 411 via phone) conducted Feb. 18-March 6. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.