PEW RESEARCH CONFIRMS LOCAL NEWS IS MOST TRUSTED SOURCE
Trust = firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
Pew Research, a non-profit, nonpartisan research firm, regularly reports on Americans' perceptions and trust in sources of news. Top-line results are reported for Local, National and Social Media news sources across print, radio, TV and internet. Fully three-quarters of adults list local news sources as ones they trust 'a lot' or 'some.'* National news organizations (including Broadcast and Cable Nets), are trusted by just over half (58%) of adults while social media trails at only 26%.
Pew Research has been tracking trust in news for many years. While the results were relatively even from 2016-18, early 2019 actually saw a peak in trust across all major news categories. However, since 2019 trust has eroded and is now at a new low. Local news was least affected (-11% point decrease from 2019-21) and has retained a majority (75%) of adults who trust news from these sources. National news saw the largest drop (-17 % points) and social was down -13% points to a new low with only 26% finding it trustworthy.
As has happened in many aspects of life, perception of news sources follows along partisan lines. The vast majority of Democrats maintain a high degree of trust in local and national news sources while the majority of Republicans still trust local news but have seen a large drop in trust of national sources (only 35%).
Local News continues to be the most trusted source of news in America.
*Alternate responses are 'not too much,' 'not at all' or 'no answer.'
Sources include TV, radio, print, web based.
For more information: Pew Research News Report, August,2021.
LOCAL BROADCAST NEWS CONTINUES TO BE THE GO-TO SOURCE
TRUST DRIVES SHARE OF VIEWING TO LOCAL BROADCAST NEWS
Trust in the information provided by local broadcast news generates confidence in the source of news, which translates into increasing in share of viewing.
Local news media are a cornerstone of democracy in the United States. They help keep residents informed of the significant issues facing their cities, towns and nearby areas; hold political and civic leaders accountable for their actions; and foster a sense of community among their readers and viewers. Public opinion research has shown that local news sources have typically earned more trust than their national counterparts. -Knight-Ridder, State of Public Trust in Local News
Television remains a common place for Americans to get their news, with local TV on par with or outpacing cable and network TV. In 2020, local TV news saw its audience increase across the evening and late night time slots. -Pew Research, Local TV News Factsheet
A Katz analysis of local news dayparts (morning 5-7am, early 5-630p, late 11-1130p, TZA) verifies the continued strength of local news. Data compiled from the 4 major affiliates carrying news in the top 25 LPM markets in August 2021 and 2020 shows an upward trend across all demos.
- P18-34 showed growth from Aug'20 to Aug'21 across all dayparts with late news posting the largest increases (19% share of viewing)
- P18-49 & P25-54 - increases across all dayparts with strongest growth in early & late news
- P50+, greatest increase in late news - approaching 30% of all viewing
LOCAL BROADCAST NEWS CONTINUES TO INCREASE VIEWERSHIP IN 2021
CABLE NEWS NETS CONTINUE TO FALL
LACK OF TRUST IN CABLE NEWS SOURCES = DECLINING VIEWERSHIP
Trust in information is critical to the success of any news organization. While most news networks may have the best intentions in producing a fair and balanced newscast, a combination of opinion (or commentary) programming along with the backlash from steady cries of 'fake' news have had a strong impact on viewers' perception of the source. This negativity has spilled into all news sources, but has impacted cable news nets the most.
Comparing the most recent August delivery of the combined share of the top 3 cable news nets (CNN, Fox News and MSNBC) shows the impact these forces have had on viewership:
- P18-34: total share has dropped to under 3% of viewing in every daypart with prime and late news falling well below 2%
- P18-49: similar to younger adults with shares bottoming out at under 2% for LN
- P25-54: dropping from highs of 4%-6% last year, the cable news nets are now in the 2%-4% range in Aug 2021
- P50+: generally the main audience for cable news, now the previous 10%+ shares are in the 5%-9% range
Declining cable penetration, the rise in streaming, and continued public skepticism has brought a 'perfect storm' to the world of cable news nets. Viewer erosion is expected to continue.
Source: Nielsen NTI, L+SD, dates as listed.