US Study: Newspapers Still Drive For Original Local Journalism

Local newspapers produce more original local journalism which address critical information need than television, radio and online-only sources combined, a new study in the United States has found.

report by academics at Duke University in the US found that 59 per cent of original, local, stories which address a critical information need were produced by local newspapers compared to TV and radio, both 15 per cent, and 10 per cent from online-only.

The report said: “These numbers take on added significance when we take into account the fact that newspapers accounted for only 25 per cent of the media outlets located within the 100 communities that we analyzed.

“Essentially, newspapers provide a share of the reporting meeting our analytical criteria that was 1.5x to 2.5x larger than newspapers’ share of the total outlets in our sample. In combination, these numbers suggest that newspapers remain by far the most important source of local journalism serving local communities.”

Local newspapers were also the main source for stories about the local community, with for 60 per cent of local stories analysed for the study being sourced to newspapers compared to just eight per cent for TV, 19 per cent for radio and 13 per cent for online-only.

“Focusing next on local stories (i.e. stories that are about the local community), newspapers and online news sources perform even stronger in terms of local content while TV and radio stations perform worse. In fact, the share of local stories produced by newspapers (almost 60 percent) was more than double their share of outlets, resulting in a ratio of 2.36,” the report said.

The study analyses over 16,000 stories provided by 663 local media outlets in 100 randomly selected communities across the US.