Young Americans Trust Local News the Most

According to a recent poll from Harvard University, when it comes to news, young Americans age 18-29 list local TV as among the most trustworthy sources of information.

NAB spoke to young people in the D.C. area about their views on reliable news sources and how they verify the information they find online and on air.

“I find them to be largely unbiased and professional,” one student responded when asked why they turn to local stations for breaking news. “I feel that local news is more unbiased because they usually just say the facts,” agreed another.

Several students noted that while finding news on social media is often the quickest option, they are aware of how misinformation is spread quickly and widely on these sites. “I like [print and television] resources better than social media because I know I can trust them without getting interference from other people and their opinions. On a publication’s website or in a nightly news broadcast, it’s just the facts as opposed to a rabbit hole of both information and everyone’s reactions to it, like you get with social media,” said one respondent. “If a headline seems a bit too crazy or sensational, I try to look for the same story in other sources I trust.”

The Harvard study also highlighted that young people are critical of big tech and support more government regulation of the industry. Sixty percent of respondents distrust Google either sometimes or all the time, while Amazon came in at 62% and Twitter at 78%. Of 16 major platforms, they ranked Facebook as the least trustworthy.

Trusted news sources have never been more important than now, as the country navigates the spread of COVID-19 and rollout of vaccines against the virus. The critical role local radio and television broadcasters have played in keeping their communities informed about COVID-19 and sharing factual information about vaccine deployment in their communities is unparalleled, working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to keep their communities safe, informed and connected, in addition to broadcasters’ efforts to fight misinformation about vaccines and shine a light on the facts.

But the overwhelming power of big tech platforms is threatening Americans’ access to quality local journalism. Not only do these tech giants pose major threats to local broadcasters’ advertising revenue, but they are gatekeepers of online content, exerting power over what internet users access.

NAB is urging legislators to cosponsor the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act to allow stations to fairly negotiate for their local news content as the overwhelming power of big tech threatens Americans’ access to quality journalism. Click here to learn more about preserving local journalism in the age of Big Tech.