The internet is nearly on par with television as the preferred outlet among Americans looking for local news coverage, says a Pew Research Center survey released Tuesday.
The polling of 34,897 adults found that 37 percent of respondents prefer getting their local news through websites, apps and social media services, while 41 percent said they would rather turn on their TV sets than look online for local reporting.
Thirteen percent of people surveyed said print publications are their preferred source for local news, while radio was ranked favorite by a meager 8 percent, Pew reported.
Conducted in late 2018, the survey asked several questions about local news in light of the internet creating myriad alternatives to traditional outlets in recent years.
“One overarching takeaway is that even as TV stations continue to have the widest reach when it comes to local news, digital outlets are an important part of the equation,” said Amy Mitchell, Pew’s director of journalism research. “Nearly as many Americans today prefer to get their local news online as from their TV set.”
The vast majority of respondents — 89 percent — said they get at least some of their local news online, the survey found.
A fraction of people polled said they have financially supported local outlets, online or otherwise, however. While 71 percent of respondents answered that they believe local news outlets are doing financially well, only 14 percent said they’ve personally paid for local news within the last year, Pew reported.
“The journalism industry has been struggling for over a decade now to find a revenue structure for the digital era, so it’s a huge challenge for the industry to see such a large share of the public believe that local news media are doing well financially and not participate in the revenue model themselves,” Ms. Mitchell said, calling the difference among respondents a “striking disconnect.”