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How People Learn About Their Local Community in a Digital Age Canadian Security Intelligence Service Informing (In)Stability Conference February 21-22, 2012 Ottawa, Canada Kristen Purcell, Ph.D. Associate Director, Research Pew Internet Project
Part of the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan “fact tank” based in Washington, DC that provides high quality, objective data to thought leaders and policymakers PRC is funded primarily by the Pew Charitable Trusts Data for this talk is from nationally representative telephone survey of 2,251 U.S. adults age 18+ (on landlines and cell phones) conducted in January 2011 The survey was done in partnership with Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, and was funded by the Knight Foundation
46% of US adults used the internet 5% had home broadband connections <20% watched video online 53% owned a cell phone 0% connected to internet wirelessly 0% used social network sites The Internet in 2000 Slow, stationary connections built around a desktop computer
82% of US adults use the internet, 76% of whom are online on any given day 2/3 have broadband at home 87% have a cell phone; 19% have a tablet computer 2/3 are wireless internet users 71% of adult internet users watch video online 65% of online adults use SNS The Internet in 2012 Mobile devices have changed the relationship between information, time and space We live in a networked world, information is embedded and ambient
What Makes This Study Unique? Past research tended to ask a single question: “Where do you go most often to get local news?’” This survey asked about 16 different local topics and the sources people relied on most for each topic Resulting picture is a complex local news ecosystem; people rely on different platforms for different topics A few important notes…. ”Local newspaper” includes print and web version “TV news” includes broadcast and website “Internet” includes web-only sources such as search engines, special topic sites, and social networking sites
Local TV news remains most popular source for local news in the US, yet adults rely on it primarily for just 3 subjects—weather, breaking news and traffic American adults turn to local newspapers for a wider range of information than any other source, yet for topics followed by fewer people The internet is now the top source on subjects such as education, local businesses and restaurants/bars/clubs Headlines from the Local News Survey Disruption lies ahead… For the 79% of online American adults, the internet is the 1 st or 2 nd most relied- upon source for 15 of 16 local topics For adults under 40, the web is first for 11 of the top 16 topics—and a close second on four others
Bottom Line – Local News is a Complex Ecosystem Different people rely on different sources for different topics Local news consumption habits vary widely by age, as well as race/ethnicity, community type, and other key factors No one platform is outpacing another in delivering all types of community news and information Roughly 2/3 use at least 3 media sources every week to get local news — and 15% rely on at least six weekly 45% do not have a favorite local news source
The most popular of the 16 topics asked about are… weather (89%) breaking news (80%) local politics (67%) crime (66%) The least popular are… government activities (42%) local job openings (39%) social services (35%) zoning and development (30%) Popular Local Topics
Most Frequently Used Local News Sources Used at least weekly for any local news… Local TV Word of Mouth Radio Newspaper Internet Print Newsletter
Source by Topic: The Preferred Source for 16 Local News Topics
If your local newspaper no longer existed, would that have a major impact, minor impact, or no impact on your ability to keep up with information and news about your local community? 69% say losing the local paper would have no impact (39%) or only a minor impact (30%) Among adults age 18-29, 74% say losing their local paper would not significantly affect their ability to get local information Similarly, 74% of home broadband users say losing their paper would have only a minor impact, if at all When Do Newspapers Top the List?
Local TV is a critical source for everyday news and the most popular local topics But, the internet is beginning to creep into these territories When Does Local TV Top the List?
When is the Internet a Top Source for Local News? The internet has surpassed newspapers as a source for national and international news… and is now emerging as a significant source for local news Among all adults, the internet is the most relied upon source for 5 of 16 local topics Among online adults, the internet ranks first or second on all but one topic (crime)
The Impact of Mobile Devices and Geolocation Mobile is slowly becoming a local news medium 47% of US adults use mobile devices to get local news and information of some kind, but it’s still largely supplemental Yet even now, 5% of US adults rely on a mobile app as their main source for weather information Percent of US adults who use a mobile device to… check local weather (36%) find local restaurants/businesses (31%) get general news about their community (25%) check local sports scores/updates (20%) get local traffic/transportation info (19%) get discounts/coupons for local stores (16%) get local news alerts by text or email (13%)
41% of US Adults are “Local News Participators” They do at least one of the following: 25% share links to local stories/videos 16% comment on local news stories or blogs they read online 16% post news or info about their local community on a social networking site like Facebook 8% contribute to online discussions or message boards about their community 6% “tag” online local news content 5% contribute articles, opinion pieces, photos or videos about their local community online 2% post news or info about their local community on Twitter SNS are not yet a main source for local info Very small percentages named SNS as the place they turn to most for any of the 16 local topics Social networks ranked highest as a source for… local restaurants (2%) community events (2%)
Into the Future: Apps and Augmented Reality
The Future is Already Here restaurants local businesses weather politics crime arts/cultural events local businesses schools community events restaurants traffic taxes housing local government jobs social services zoning/development Age 18-39Age 40+ The internet is the main source for these topics
Kristen Purcell, Ph.D. Associate Director, Research Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project email@example.com Twitter: @pewinternet @kristenpurcell All data available at pewinternet.org
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