A new survey shows that television is still the top choice for people looking for local news. But that top position won’t last long.
What’s your primary source of local news? That’s the question the Pew Research Center asked Americans back in October and November.
What will surely be surprising to some is that television is still on top. The survey, reported by the Pew Research Center on Tuesday, found that 41% of those surveyed say television is their “preferred” source for local news.
Going online for news, however, is not far behind the tube, coming in at 37%.
Print comes in third place for news at 13% and radio is in last place at 8%.
As someone who manages a television station’s website, I like those numbers. But I am also aware of the fact that there will soon come a time when getting news online will overtake getting news on television.
No, I’m not saying television is dying, though plenty of people seem to take delight in that fantasy. Television isn’t really going anywhere; what’s changing is what’s powering the television as consumers cut the cord and rely on streaming services.
But local television news still plays a very important role and will for some time, especially when it comes to breaking news or severe weather coverage.
It’s worth noting that the numbers probably aren’t so simple. It’s entirely possible some of the people who prefer to get their news “online” may be going to local news websites powered by local television stations or newspapers. It’s hard to find national news agencies that focus on local news.
But the challenge for television and print is clear: online news is where the future is and why it’s well past time to be planning for it.