Local News Providers Beat National And Social Media In Trust: Pew

U.S. readers place more trust in local news organizations than in national news outlets and social media sites, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.   

Of the U.S. readers polled, 71% have some or a lot of trust in local news entities, vs. 61% for national news organizations and 33% in social media sites. 

But it depends on their political beliefs.  

Only 42% of Republicans or those who lean that way trust national organizations, while 63% have faith in local ones and 27% in social media.  

In contrast, 77% of Democrats/lean democrats trust national news organizations, 79% local and 38% social media. 

But there has been a slight shift.

“While still wide, this year’s gap is slightly smaller than the 43-point gap in 2021, due to a slight uptick in trust among Republicans,” write survey authors Jacob Lied and Jeffrey Gottfried. “This large partisan divide over the past couple of years has been primarily driven by an overall lower level of trust among Republicans.” 



Moreover, there are demographic differences.

For one, 50% of Gen Z readers trust news from social media sites, although 56% still prefer national organizations and 62% local ones. 

In comparison, 58% of millennials trust national providers, 70% local ones and 36% social sites. Readers age 65+ trust national news entities (67%). Local (79%) and only 20% social media.  

In addition, at 62%, women are more likely to trust national news groups, whereas 59% of men do so.  

It also varies by education: people with college educations or more are more inclined to trust national media (70%) and local (77%), versus those who believe in social media (30%). 

Meanwhile, racial/ethnic groups varied in these ways:  

  • White: National (59%), local (72%) and social media (26%). 
  • Black: National (67%), local (74%), social media (43%).
  • Hispanic: National (62%), local (70%) and social media (47%).  
  • Asian: National (70%), local (67%) and social media (46%).  

Pew surveyed  12,147 adults from its American Trends Panel from July 18 to Aug. 21, 2022. 

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