Americans Turn to Local Media Before National
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Americans Turn to Local Media Before National

Americans are more likely to turn to local television and newspapers for news and information than to national sources, according to a recent Gallup Poll.

Paul Holmes

Americans are more likely to turn to local television and newspapers for news and information than to national sources, according to a recent Gallup Poll.

The only news source to show an increase in daily use from Gallup’s 2002 poll on media usage is the Internet—now at an all-time high. Use of public television news, nightly network news, local television news, and National Public Radio has decreased, and the number of Americans who report using nightly network news programs, local TV news, local newspapers, and network newsmagazine shows reached new lows in this year’s poll.

The poll, conducted in early December, asked Americans how often they get news from 10 different daily news sources and three weekly news sources. Local television news ranks at the top of the list of daily news sources, with 51 percent of Americans saying they use this source every day (and another 19 percent saying they use it several times a week). Next in line are local newspapers, with a 44 percent daily use rating; cable news networks, at 39 percent; and nightly network news programs, at 36 percent.

In the middle of the list are morning programs on the national television networks and public television news, both mentioned by 27 percent of Americans. Adults are least likely to report using radio talk shows (21 percent), Internet sites (20 percent), National Public Radio (17 percent), and national newspapers like the New York Times or Wall Street Journal (7 percent).

Fewer than one in five Americans use any of the three weekly sources for their news on a regular basis. Juts 19 percent of Americans watch television newsmagazine shows on a weekly basis, while 18 percent watch Sunday morning news programs and 11 percent read weekly newsmagazines every week. 

More people now report using Internet sites than ever before. When Gallup first asked about the use of the Internet for news in 1995, only 3 percent of Americans said they got their news on the Internet every day. That increased to 7 percent in 1998, and held steady at 8 percent in 1999. By 2002, daily use of the Internet for news increased to 15 percent. This year, it increased to 20 percent—although the Internet still lags traditional television and print news sources.

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