|Weekly News Digest
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New Pew Research Center Report: Local News Is Going Mobile
The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism has released a new report on people using mobile devices—smart phones and tablets—to get local news and information. The report, “How mobile devices are changing community information environments,” says that local news is going mobile. Nearly half of all American adults (47%) report that they get at least some local news and information on their cellphone or tablet computer.
What they seek out most on mobile platforms is information that is practical and in real time: 42% of mobile device owners report getting weather updates on their phones or tablets; 37% say they get material about restaurants or other local businesses. These consumers are less likely to use their mobile devices for news about local traffic, public transportation, general news alerts, or to access retail coupons or discounts.
Compared with other adults, these mobile local news consumers are younger, live in higher income households, are newer residents of their communities, live in nonrural areas, and tend to be parents of minor children. Adults who get local news and information on mobile devices are more likely than others to feel they can have on impact on their communities, more likely to use a variety of media platforms, feel more plugged into the media environment than they did a few years ago, and are more likely to use social media:
- 35% of mobile local news consumers feel they can have a big impact on their community (vs. 27% of other adults)
- 65% feel it is easier today than 5 years ago to keep up with information about their community (vs. 47% of nonmobile connectors)
- 51% use six or more different sources or platforms monthly to get local news and information (vs. 21%)
- 75% use social network sites (vs. 42%)
- 15% use Twitter (vs. 4%)
Tablets and smartphones have also brought with them news applications or “apps.” One-quarter (24%) of mobile local news consumers report having an app that helps them get information or news about their local community. That equates to 13% of all device owners and 11% of the total American adult population. Thus, while nearly 5 in 10 get local news on mobile devices, just 1 in 10 use apps to do so. Call it the app gap.
Many news organizations are looking to mobile platforms to provide new ways to generate revenue in local markets. The survey suggests there is a long way to go before that happens. Currently, only 10% of adults who use mobile apps to connect to local news and information pay for those apps. This amounts to just 1% of all adults.
This survey is being released as a part of the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s 2011 State of the News Media Report. These results come from a national phone survey of 2,251 American adults (age 18 or more) in English and Spanish. Some 750 of the interviews were conducted on cellphone. The margin of error for the full sample is +/- 2 percentage points.
Source: Pew Research Center
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