Study: Americans Trust Local Above National News

The Knight Foundation and Gallup published a report focused on the state of public trust in local news. The study examined how the public responds to local vs. national news. Also, how local news stacks up against other public institutions, such as the local library, regarding trust.

The survey’s results are based on three separate, self-administered web surveys conducted between June and July of 2019.

According to the survey results, 45% of American trust reporting by local news organizations “a great deal” or “quite a lot.” When it came to national news organizations, only 31% of respondents reported trust.

Personal feelings about journalists also played into how much respondents trust their news sources. The results showed that 36% of Americans believe local journalists are more likely to be seen as caring than national journalists. Four percent supported national journalists, 29% felt local journalists were seen as trustworthy, 25% felt they were accurate and 23% felt they were neutral.



Republicans showed a higher level of support for local journalists, while Democrats were more likely to view local and national journalists neutrally. Between those groups, half of Democrats feel confident about their local news organizations, with only 27% of Republicans responding similarly.

Only local government ranked lower than local news when it came to public confidence. Some 73% of Americans expressed confidence in their local libraries, while 56% expressed the same for their local law enforcement.

Ultimately, the results posit that support for local news could become more precarious as the American public become more polarized politically.

The study with full results is available here.
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