Local News in the Digital Age
According to Pew Research Center studies, “Americans continue to prefer watching the news rather than reading or listening to it” or getting their news online.
Television still is the preferred place to get “news.” More than 40% prefer TV compared with a third preferring web.
People over 50 tend to skew more toward television and print rather than web. However, those who prefer to “read” news tend to prefer the web rather than TV or print. Readers of all ages have gravitated to web platforms, and the gap between those getting all their news online and using TV is tightening to just 6 percentage points.
The New York Times reported strong growth in digital subscriptions in the first quarter of 2019, reaching more than 3.5 million digital subscribers. We’ll need to watch how voice-activated devices change subscription rates of all news outlets. “Hey Alexa, tell me the news of the day” is going to change the landscape dramatically.
The real issue is the definition of “news.” Some people say they get all their news from Facebook. The phrase “local news” is changing. Is local news your friends having a new baby or that someone was caught shoplifting at a local store? Traditional journalism would say the shoplifting story, but on digital, you will know which story ranked higher in terms of views.
I know the Academy Awards refuses to use box office numbers to award best picture, but best “news” story is being rewritten by the internet day after day.