In days past, there were four main ways one received news: directly from a friend, from print newspapers or magazines, from the television, or from radio. These days, according to a recent report from the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, almost half of Americans receive digital news in one form or another. According to another Pew survey, when it comes to local news, it seems that we are relying on a mix of both traditional and online sources.
According to the first study, 33 percent of young adults get their news from social media, which is almost the same number (34 percent) that get their news from TV, and much more than the 13 percent that get it from print or digital newspapers. Not surprisingly, one of the major drivers for this change in news consumption is the rapid adoption of mobile Internet devices. What may surprise you is that, while news is consumed by users of smartphones and tablets, the majority of the owners of these devices have yet to download “an app for that.”
On the local news front, Americans display a high level of interest in local news and information regardless of where they live. However, how they get their news correlates to whether they reside in an urban, suburban or rural setting.
Urban dwellers rely on a wide variety of communication platforms for receiving local news and are more likely to utilize digital news services, including the digital services provided by local television stations. In fact, they are still most likely to rely on local TV news stations for breaking local news, whether over the air or via a digital device.
People living in the suburbs are more likely to rely on local radio for their information, but are still heavy users of digital devices and like to comment on and share news. For breaking news, they tend to turn on the TV.
Small town and rural residents rely more on traditional sources of news such as television, radio and newspapers to get their local information. These residents are most worried about the loss of newspapers in their communities.
What is clear from these studies is that, when trying to reach a broad population, a company needs to incorporate a wide array of tactics that can reach their target audience through a variety of channels. Most importantly perhaps is the need to create actual news events that can get the attention of the news media, whether local or national, traditional or digital.