The Internet is a growing source for local news particularly among young adults, age 18 to 34, according to a JupiterResearch study titled Online Local Content: Prioritizing Content, Blogs, and Community.
Jupiter’s findings show that between 2001 and 2004, the share of people seeking local news online rose from four to nine percent of those surveyed, a 35 percent jump. The percentage may appear small compared to TV, which rated 63 percent in 2004, but television’s increase only rose from 61 percent during the same period. Newspapers actually declined two percent over the course of the study. JupiterResearch points out there is cross-media activity, and many users visit the sites of their preferred offline newspapers on a regular basis.The research also shows that younger audiences are networked and recommend or share news information freely via email and IM.
“Youth likes the online for news in so far as they like news,” says David Card, vice president and senior analyst with JupiterResearch. “If you are a multimedia brand, you should definitely cater to the younger audience. Expect that a disproportionate number of your audience will be younger.”
One issue noted in the report is the lack of a successful national network of local sites despite the efforts of Knight Ridder and Belo, none of whom have a substantial share in terms of national reach.