A new study says “yes.” The Pew study says:
- Different people rely on different sources. Overall, local news consumption habits vary widely by age, and the survey demonstrates that no one platform is outpacing another in delivering all community news and information. Fully 64 percent of Americans use at least three sources of media every week to get local news–15 percent rely on at least six weekly. And 45 percent say they do not even have a favorite local news source.
- Weather is most popular, zoning ranks last. The most popular local news topics that people get are weather (89 percent of people get it), breaking news (80 percent); local politics (67 percent) and crime (66 percent). The least popular on our list of topics are zoning and development information (30 percent), local social services such as housing and health care (35 percent), local job openings (39 percent), and government activities (42 percent).
- Mobile has become a local news medium. Nearly half of adults (47 percent) use mobile devices to get local news and information of some kind, but it is largely supplemental. Even now, though, 5 percent of Americans say they rely on a mobile app for weather information.
- Local News is highly participatory. Fully 41 percent can be considered local news participators because they contribute their own information via social media and other sources. Both these groups are substantially more likely than others to use the internet to get local news and information on almost all topics.
- Small percentage share local news. Social media is becoming a factor in how people learn about their local community, but it is not as popular as other digital forms. In all, 16 percent of adults say they share local information on social networking sites like Facebook.
- Minorities are a source of stability for local TV news. Hispanics are more than four times more likely to name local television as their top source for local politics as they are to name newspapers (37 percent versus 9 percent). African-American adults also prefer local TV over local newspapers as a source for this topic, though not quite to the same degree (36 percent versus 19 percent).