How People Learn About Their Local Community

While local TV news remains the most popular source for local information in America, adults rely on it primarily for just three subjects — weather, breaking news and to a lesser extent traffic. And for all their problems, newspapers (both print and on the web) are the source Americans turn to most for a wider range of information than any other source. These are some of the findings of a new study produced by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Pew Internet & American Life Project in partnership with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The survey, which looks in a new and detailed way at how people learn about community by breaking down local information into 16 key topic areas, also finds that the internet already has a strong hold in the local community. Web-only outlets are now primary source of information on key subjects like education, local business and restaurants. And greater disruption seems to lie ahead. For the 79% of Americans who are online, in addition to Americans ages 18-39, the internet ranks as a top source of information for most of the local subjects studied in the survey.

Read the full report for a detailed breakdown of the top sources of information for 16 different local topics. You’ll also find information on what the most popular local topics are, the use of mobile devices, the impact of social media and differences among demographic groups when it comes to what interests them and where they find their information.

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