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We Still Appreciate Local News, Survey Suggests

More and more people are turning to the Internet for their news, as it is only becoming easier, more in-depth, and perhaps most importantly, endlessly customizable. If you want to know about the Canadian television industry, or find yesterday’s cricket scores from India, an Internet search can get you there, and fast.

Apparently, however, this customization and perceived convenience is only so effective for many people. According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, when it comes to local news, Americans tend to turn to local television newscasts or newspapers. But the results aren’t all good for these traditional media sources, as respondents only turn to them in a limited capacity. Local TV viewers are mostly interested in weather and breaking news, while 69% of people said they wouldn’t be impacted if their local newspaper went out of business.

The Internet and mobile devices in general were not clearly dominant in many categories, as some of us may assume. People under 40 were much more likely to go to the Internet for all of their news, while those over 40 were more interested in using the Internet for specific information, like restaurant locations. Nearly half of respondents stated that they use their mobile devices to get local news and information. However, there is still the link to TV and newspapers even on the Internet. Between 50% and 75% of respondents said they still visit their local TV and newspaper websites at least once a week.

What this all seems to mean is that while the Internet, or even national news stations and newspapers may give us a lot of what we need, there is not yet a suitable way to hear about your town than from somebody who actually lives there. This is further illustrated by a huge amount of people relying on the oldest source of news to get their local information: word of mouth. CNN isn’t going to care enough about the break and enter on your childhood street, but you probably would, and so would your local TV station. For now, there isn’t a completely suitable replacement for the close to home news that we at least sometimes crave. The problem for local TV stations and newspapers is finding a way, despite us apparently wanting to ignore a lot of what they do, to make it all profitable.