A new Pew Research study shows that minority communities and older citizens are more likely to be invested in local news in the United States because of their interests and their level of education.
The report shows that 46% of Black Americans followed local news, compared to 28% of White Americans and 34% of Hispanic Americans.
In terms of age demographics, Americans over the age of 50 were more likely to follow local news on their televisions, while younger audiences preferred using the internet and social media.
Hardin Chair of Excellence and Journalism professor Otis Sanford said he somewhat agrees with the findings, especially with the black community in Memphis.
“Memphians, especially African Americans in Memphis historically, have watched a lot of television,” Sanford said. “If you go to any television station in town, they’ll tell you that their demographics skew a lot heavier toward Black Americans, although this is a predominantly African American city.”
Sanford also said that a large number of African Americans are turning to the local news channels instead of national news channels.
“I believe that people do want to know what’s going on and are turning inward to local news to keep up primarily with what is going on with public safety, regarding local political events, and to see things that are directly impacting their lives,” Sanford said. “I believe that people are growing weary of the daily dose of politics that dominates the national news, specifically things that are coming out of the white house.”
Students gave their input on the Pew Research’s findings and whether it lined up with college students and Memphis citizens. University of Memphis sophomore Brian Gooding, 19, said he understands and agrees with the research.
“Personally, I do not have the urge nor the want to follow much news on TV,” Gooding said. “If I want to look for news, I usually go online to a news site like CNN or on Facebook to catch up on what is going on. However, I do happen to be more interested in what goes on in Memphis more so than around the world, and my parents tend to follow the news a lot from the evening and night coverages.”
For some students, following the news online is more accessible rather than sitting in front of the television. Gooding said he watched the local Memphis news because it is based on his interests instead of paying attention to events that happen around the world.
Senior music major Jerald Walker, 21, said he barely watches the news on TV because it is on his mobile device.
“To me, it is a lot easier and more accessible through my phone, than watching it on TV,” Walker said. “It is also a time saver for me too because I’m so busy throughout the day, I don’t have the time to sit and actually watch the news.”