A new study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project looks at the source of local news and information across varying different community types in the U.S.
The study, How people get local news and information in different communities, found these main differences:
Urban residents: “more likely to get local news and information via a range of digital activities, including internet searches, Twitter, blogs and the websites of local TV stations and newspapers.”
Suburban residents: “more likely than others to rely on local radio as a platform (perhaps because of relatively longer commuting times); they are more interested than others in news and information about arts and cultural events; and they are particularly interested in local restaurants, traffic, and taxes”
Small town residents: “more likely to rely on traditional news platforms such as television and newspapers to get local news; newspapers are especially important to them for civic information. Small town Americans prefer the local newspaper for a long list of information—including local weather, crime, community events, schools, arts and culture, taxes, housing, zoning, local government and social services.”
Rural residents: “generally are less interested in almost all local topics than those in other communities. The one exception is taxes. They are also more reliant on traditional platforms such as newspapers and TV for most of the topics we queried. And they are less likely than others to say it is easier now to keep up with local information.”
The study notes, “choices about information acquisition are not necessarily the same in all communities. For instance, it might be the case in rural areas that the local newspaper and broadcast outlets are not online or have a very limited online presence and that is a determinant in whether residents get local information online or not.”