Four-in-ten Black Americans say that the issues and events most important to them are often covered in the outlets they get news from, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2023. Similar shares of Asian (38%) and Hispanic (37%) adults say the same.
By contrast, a slim majority of White Americans (54%) say the outlets they get news from cover the topics that are most important to them extremely or fairly often.
These findings come from a broader Center study of Black Americans’ experiences with news, in which many criticized the way the news media covers Black people. The survey also asked about Black Americans’ interest in specific news topics.
There is a wide range of issues that Black Americans want to keep up with. Half or more say it’s extremely or very important to them to follow:
- Health care and medicine (66%)
- Crime (58%)
- Economy and jobs (57%)
- Education and schools (54%)
Pew Research Center conducted this analysis as part of a broader study of Black Americans’ experiences, habits and attitudes around news and information. The main source of data for this study is a Center survey of 4,742 U.S. adults who self-identify as Black, conducted online from Feb. 22 to March 5, 2023. Black adults include those who say they are Black alone and non-Hispanic, Black and at least one other race and non-Hispanic, or Black and Hispanic.
The sample of Black Americans included 1,745 respondents from Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP) and 2,997 respondents from Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel (KP). The ATP and KP are both online survey panels recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way, nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. This survey was administered only to adults who identified as Black and was weighted to be representative of the U.S. Black adult population by gender, age, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories.
The survey included an open-ended question that asked respondents which topics or issues they wish news outlets covered more. If respondents answered with multiple topics, only the first three were coded. In total, 3,310 open-end responses were coded.
To supplement our data on Black Americans’ experiences with news and information, we also conducted a survey of the general population on the ATP from March 13 to 19, 2023, among 10,701 U.S. adults.
Pew Research Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder. This is the latest report in Pew Research Center’s ongoing investigation of the state of news, information and journalism in the digital age, a research program funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, with generous support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
About four-in-ten (41%) say it is important for them to keep up with government and politics, while 15% say the same of entertainment, pop culture and sports.
The majority of Black Americans who say each topic is important also say it’s easy to find news and information about that topic. For example, 79% of Black adults who say it’s important to them to follow entertainment, pop culture and sports also say it’s easy to find information about this. About three-quarters say the same when it comes to crime or government and politics.
However, not everyone says it’s easy to find the information they want on topics that matter to them. For example, among those who say it is important to keep up with health care news, nearly four-in-ten do not say it is easy to find information on the topic. This includes 24% who say it’s neither easy nor difficult as well as 14% who say it’s very or somewhat difficult.
We also asked Black Americans to share – in their own words – which topics they wished were covered more. These responses were then sorted into specific categories. A full list of categories can be found in the appendix.
The responses reveal a wide variety of topics that Black Americans want to see covered more in the news. The most common category was the economy, including issues such as cost of living, housing, poverty, employment and wages. Some respondents said they were interested in more news about “the gap between the rich and the poor,” “financial advice” and “local economic conditions and opportunities.”
Many respondents also gave answers related to crime, including general coverage of crime in their communities, gun control, policing and criminal justice. Responses included issues such as “police brutality,” “getting guns off the streets” and “missing women of color.”
Others shared social and political issues they wished were covered more, such as health care (including health insurance, mental health and COVID-19) and race-related issues (including racial discrimination and the Black Lives Matter movement). And some indicated a desire for more local, national or international news in general.
Finally, a significant portion of Black Americans shared that they would like to see more positive or happy news. These comments included “more encouraging news stories,” “the good that a community does” and “Black or African Americans in a positive light.”