Local TV News Tops National In Trust

Considering the concerns about where people get news/information these days, you would think TV or big newspapers would be in the driver’s seat.

Much has been made about social media’s influence on the recent presidential election. Some 17 national intelligence agencies confirmed Russia meddled in the 2016 election. It's suggested that Russian involvement with faux-news sites and content spurred erroneous stories that swayed voters.

Here is some good -- and iffy news -- about this.

A recent study of 1,145 U.S. adults between March 21-22, 2017 by TV programmatic/ad technology company Videa says when consumers want local news, “somewhat or very often,” they turn on TV 59% of the time.

This versus 38% for social media; 36% for print media; and 36% for local radio stations.

Full-disclosure here: Videa, is owned by Cox Media, which also owns 14 broadcast TV stations and 60 radio stations.

Of course, what isn’t mentioned is any specifics concerning the type of news. For example, what about stories, faux or real, that start on social media and get picked up by traditional TV? (Surely, TV station newscasts, with journalists to vet and dispute news, probably curry even more favor. Then again, maybe some social media news is legit.)



One longtime reason for these big results, according to many TV stations, is local TV journalists have an ongoing “relationship” with local TV viewers. The Videa study also cites “local news sources as easier to verify, more truthful and more relevant overall.”

Then there is this study finding: 62% of respondents say they "trust" local news media; 38% saying they trust national news.

Last year, the Pew Research Center looked closer at local and national news. Local news organizations earned a 22% score when it came to trusting their news “a lot.” National news got an 18% number. With it comes to trust “some” of the time: local, 60%; national, 59%.

Trust is one thing; but how does viewership play into this?

Viewing of national news TV content -- especially cable news networks -- has soared since the presidential election last November.

Overall, cable news networks CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC rocketed up 46% in 2016 over 2015 -- and that continues this year. Seems trust would also be higher now with some national news networks.

What does this all say? That TV viewers may be becoming a bit more discerning -- more attentive -- when it comes to what news sources media consumers consider.

1 comment about "Local TV News Tops National In Trust".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, June 13, 2017 at 9:40 a.m.

    Wayne, te key word in your report is the "type" of news one gets from local versus national news. Your typical network news edition covers national news--mostly bad news, full of angry political jousting, budding scandals, mass protests, wars of all kinds, terrorist horror stories, etc. while the longer and more leisurely local reports barely touch on such matters, dealing mainly with local/regional politics, the weather, sports, various "soft news" items about the local community, etc. So, naturally, such generally more positive and friendly coverage rates higher with many people than the national reports which are often a "downer". This is hardly news, by the way. Studies have noted this distinction for years. As for the advertising relevance---if any----one might ask whether there is any solid evidence that local news viewers pay more attention to the ads in these reports and are more likely to be motivated by them than their counterparts---usually the same people---who watch the national newscasts? If so, I'd like to see such data.

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