Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Americans’ changing relationship with local news

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In todays email:

  • Featured story: TV news faces instability before the U.S. election
  • New from Pew Research Center: Americans’ changing relationship with local news
  • In other news: Israel forces Al Jazeera to close local operations
  • Looking ahead: TikTok sues U.S. government over potential ban
  • Chart of the week: Americans’ local news sources have become more digital

🔥 Featured story

ABC News is going through a leadership change and the parent company of CBS is facing a potential sale, among other instability for TV news ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

Amid this turmoil, networks are innovating digitally to retain audiences as traditional broadcast viewership is aging and declining. According to a 2023 Center study, 56% of U.S. adults say they often get news from digital devices, surpassing 32% who often turn to television. The share of Americans who prefer to get news on TV declined from 35% in 2020 to 27% in 2023, whereas the share who prefer digital devices increased from 52% to 58% during the same period.

🚨 New from Pew Research Center

The local news landscape in America is going through profound changes as both news consumers and producers continue to adapt to a more digital news environment. A new Pew Research Center survey asked U.S. adults about the ways they access local news, as well as their attitudes toward local journalism.

Key findings include:

  • A growing share of Americans prefer to get local news online, while fewer are getting news on TV or in print.
  • The share of U.S. adults who say they are paying close attention to local news has declined.
  • Americans still see value in local news and local journalists, and views of local news don’t have the same stark political divides that exist within Americans’ opinions about national media.

This is the first in a series of Pew Research Center reports on local news from the Pew-Knight Initiative, a research program funded jointly by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

📌 In other news

📅 Looking ahead

TikTok is suing the U.S. government, challenging a law signed by President Joe Biden that would ban the app if it is not sold. The company argues that the new law violates free speech protections in the First Amendment, and the lawsuit reflects wider concerns about government regulation of tech companies.

Americans favor more rather than less regulation of Big Tech companies, according to a recent Center survey. When asked whether the government should regulate major technology companies more, less or at its current level, 51% believe these companies should be regulated more than they are now and 16% feel they should be regulated less. About three-in-ten (31%) say the current level of regulation should continue.

More specifically, 38% of Americans said last fall that they would support the U.S. government banning TikTok, while 27% oppose such a ban. Support for the ban declined between March and October of last year.

📊 Chart of the week

The chart of the week comes from our new report on local news trends in the U.S. The ways in which Americans access local news are changing, reflecting a news and information environment that is becoming increasingly digital. Fewer people now say they prefer to get local news via TV (32%, down from 41% in 2018). Americans are now more likely to say they prefer to get local news online, either through news websites (26%) or social media (23%).

A line chart showing Americans’ preferred path to local news is moving online

👋 That’s all for this week. 

The Briefing is compiled by Pew Research Center staff, including Naomi Forman-Katz, Jacob Liedke, Sarah Naseer, Christopher St. Aubin, Luxuan Wang and Emily Tomasik. It is edited by Katerina Eva Matsa, Michael Lipka and Mark Jurkowitz, and copy edited by David Kent.

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