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Where Do Americans Feel Best About Local News?

People expect local journalists to be deeply engaged with their communities. A new report suggests San Antonio and the Twin Cities are on to something.
Demographics matter a lot when it comes to how and with what attitude people consume news.
Demographics matter a lot when it comes to how and with what attitude people consume news.Jae C. Hong

The gutting of America’s local news organizations has been aggressive and indiscriminate. Big-city papers like the New York Daily News, local operations of media conglomerates like Gannett, and alt-weeklies like the East Bay Express, LA Weekly, and the Village Voice have all faced huge layoffs in the past two years, as have 36 percent of all large U.S. papers since 2017.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the outlets that remain have been stretched to cover ever-wider areas. Almost half of Americans say the local news media outlets they rely on mostly cover a city or region other than their own, according to a new Pew study of almost 35,000 respondents. That disconnect may be a problem. Only a quarter of the Americans whose news outlets had a broad scope expressed confidence in that coverage, compared to more than a third of those whose local media was covering truly local news.