Mobile Devices a Source of Local News for Many Adults
Consumers still rely on TV and newspapers for local news, but nearly half of U.S. adults are supplementing their news intake by turning to mobile devices, a new study suggests.
A new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that American adults are using a blend of both new and traditional sources to get local news information. The data were gathered from a nationally representative sample of 2,251 adults ages 18 and older on landline phones and cellphones, with a margin of error of 2 percent.
Although local TV news remains the most popular source for local information in America, adults rely on it primarily for weather, urgent news and to a lesser extent traffic. To keep track of other issues, both print and online newspapers are the top source for most news consumers.
Not surprisingly, the Internet is popular among local news sources as well. Web-only outlets are now the key source of information on some subjects such as education or local business and restaurants. For the 79 percent of Americans who are online, the Internet ranks as a top source of information for most of the local subjects studied in the survey.
Word of mouth remains a key information source even in the digital age, ranking second behind only local TV stations as the source people use at least weekly for local information, the report found. At the same time, nearly half of adults (47 percent) occasionally now get local information on mobile devices, though it is still largely a supplemental platform for them. About 5 percent of Americans say they rely on a mobile app for weather information.
"Mobile apps draw very little attention at this point on the local scene, but it isn't hard to sketch a scenario where they will matter more in coming years," said Kristen Purcell, associate director for research at the Pew Internet Project. "Plus, the utility of news organization sites is still unsettled. They are important to some people, but the sites don't score nearly as high as the traditional platforms, such as TV broadcast and printed newspaper."
Social media is also becoming a factor in how people learn about their local community, the report said. However, it is not as popular as other digital forms. About16 percent of adults said they share local information on social networking sites such as Facebook .
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