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Survey: National Outlets Top COVID-19 News Sources

The largest number of respondents to a recent study said they rely on national news outlets for information on the pandemic. Of those, 83% said those national outlets have done “very” or “somewhat” well in covering news on COVID-19. 

That is according to a Pew Research Center survey of sources of news about the pandemic. 

Source: Pew Research

Source: Pew Research

The survey, of 10,139 U.S. adults conducted April 20-26, found that 26% rely on national outlets, 185 relay on local news outlets and the same percentage on public health organizations and officials, with 16% saying they rely on President Trump and his White House task force. Rounding out the rest of the list were state and local officials at 9%, international news outlets, friends/family/neighbors and online forums or discussions tied at 4%, community newsletters or list serves 1%, and former Vice President and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his campaign at under 1%. 

Those who said local news was their top source overindexed for racial and ethnic minorities, with 45% of those nonwhite adults (25% Hispanic, 16% black). 

The vast majority of the 16 percent who rely on Trump and his task force for information don't trust the media. According to the survey, only 24% say coverage has been largely accurate, while 72% say journalists are "exaggerating the risks of the virus." 

And they suggest that coverage has consequences. Asked whether they thought the media was helping the country with their coverage, 21% said yes, but 61% said they were "damaging the nation." 

The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus 1.5 percentage points.