It’s a good time to be a local TV producer or reporter, according to a recent report on the state of local news in various cities across the United States.
Interest in local-level and neighbourhood-level news trumped that of national and international fare in all three cities — Denver, CO; Macon, GA; and Sioux City, IA — surveyed by the Pew Research Center in early March.
“In all three cities, nearly nine-in-ten residents follow news about their local area very or somewhat closely, and roughly half follow it very closely,” reads the center’s Local News in the Digital Age report.
Around 27 per cent of Denver residents said they followed international news.
The report is based on findings from public opinion surveys administered in each city.
And while local news is the preferred cargo, the survey indicates the delivery method of choice is definitely local television: More than 50 per cent of residents in each city indicated it was their preferred source, reaching nearly 70 per cent in the smaller centres of Macon and Sioux City.
That’s compared to just 23 per cent of Denverites naming a daily newspaper as their preferred source of news (the smaller cities had higher daily newspaper penetration, at between 35 and 40 per cent).
Interestingly (and perhaps slightly concerningly), “other local residents” were a top three news source for respondents in all three cities — climbing to as high as 37 per cent in Macon.
The report also tracked the digital differences between all three cities, with nearly 50 per cent of Denver residents surveyed indicating the Internet is important as a local news source (which, to me, seemed a smallish number until you realize that only 33 per cent of Sioux City residents view the Internet as a good source of local news).