Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Local TV News Remains Most Trusted News Source

According to a recent survey by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, local TV news in the U.S. remains the most trusted news source.

An impressive 62% of respondents expressed trust in local TV news, which is the highest score among both online and TV sources1. It’s heartening to see that local news continues to play a vital role in informing and connecting communities.

TVTechnoloy.com reports the Digital News Report 2024 from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism provides a detailed breakdown of consumer attitudes towards news consumption as well as deep dives into such topics as the use of AI in journalism for both global audiences and consumers in specific countries like the U.S.

In terms of the U.S., only 28% of American surveyed said they had accessed local TV news in the last week while overall trust in the news media remained stable but low. Only 32% said they trusted the news in 2024 (same level at 2013). The global average was 40%; the U.S. ranked 35th out of 47 countries surveyed.  

Local TV news in the U.S., however, fared much better, with 62% trusting it, the highest score of any other online or TV source. Regional and local newspapers came in second (58%). 

Among the broadcast networks ABC and CBS raked the highest (52%). NBC/MSNBC was trusted by 49% followed by CNN at 48% and Fox News at 43%. 

In terms of their preferred way to access news, 72% of Americans said online news sources, including social media, remained a top choice  slightly down from 75% in 2013. TV came in second at 51% (down from 72% in 2013 but up 3 percentage points since 2023), followed by social media at 48% (up from 27% in 2013) and print at 16^, down from 47% in 2013. 

The researchers also reported that: "Concern about what is real and what is fake on the internet when it comes to online news has risen by 3 percentage points in the last year with around six in ten (59%) [globally] saying they are concerned. The figure is considerably higher in South Africa (81%) and the United States (72%), both countries that have been holding elections this year. Worries about how to distinguish between trustworthy and untrustworthy content in online platforms is highest for TikTok and X when compared with other online networks."

In the U.S. respondents indicated they were concerned about the use of AI to produce news, with only 23% saying they would be comfortable with AI produced news versus 52% saying they were comfortable with news produced by humans. About 42% they were comfortable with news produced mostly by humans with AI, versus 30% who were uncomfortable. 

Key findings globally include:  

  • “In many countries, especially outside Europe and the United States, we find a significant further decline in the use of Facebook for news and a growing reliance on a range of alternatives including private messaging apps and video networks. Facebook news consumption is down 4 percentage points, across all countries, in the last year," the researchers wrote.
  • “News use across online platforms is fragmenting, with six networks now reaching at least 10% of our respondents, compared with just two a decade ago. YouTube is used for news by almost a third (31%) of our global sample each week.”
  • “Linked to these shifts, video is becoming a more important source of online news, especially with younger groups. Short news videos are accessed by two-thirds (66%) of our sample each week, with longer formats attracting around half (51%). The main locus of news video consumption is online platforms (72%) rather than publisher websites (22%), increasing the challenges around monetization and connection.
  • “Although the platform mix is shifting, the majority continue to identify platforms including social media, search, or aggregators as their main gateway to online news. Across markets, only around a fifth of respondents (22%) identify news websites or apps as their main source of online news – that’s down 10 percentage points on 2018. 
  • In terms of sources for news that people pay most attention to on various platforms, there was “an increasing focus on partisan commentators, influencers, and young news creators, especially on YouTube and TikTok.”

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