Half of adults get local information on mobile devices, finds Pew Internet’s study
For 79% of Americans who are online, as well as Americans ages 18-39, the Internet is a top source of information for most of the local subjects, according to a survey by Pew Internet.
The survey firm said that Web-only outlets are now the key source of information on some key subjects such as education or local business and restaurants.
The survey found that while local TV news remains the most popular source for local information in America, adults rely on it primarily for just three subjects — weather, breaking news and traffic. Newspapers (both print and on the web) are the source Americans turn to most for a wider range of information than any other source, according to a new survey out today, said Pew Internet.
In the new study produced by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Pew Internet & American Life Project in partnership with John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, it was revealed that word of mouth remains a key information source even in the digital age, ranking second as the source people use at least weekly to get local information, behind only local TV. Nearly half of adults occasionally now get local information on mobile devices, found the study.
Director of PEJ and co-author of the new report Tom Rosenstiel said research in the past about how people get information about their communities tended to focus on a single question: ‘Where do you go most often to get local news?’
Rosenstiel continued, "This research asked about 16 different local topics and found a much more complex ecosystem in which people rely on different platforms for different topics. It turns out that each piece of the local information system has special roles to play. Our research sorted that out and we found that for some things TV matters most, for others newspapers and their websites are primary sources, and the internet is used for still other topics."
The survey and report show how dramatically digital technology has disrupted the traditional information system of localities.
"The rise of search engines and specialty websites for different topics like weather, job postings, businesses, and even e-government have fractured and enriched the local news and information environment," said Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Internet Project and another report co-author.