Survey finds regional press is most popular source for local news

A unique Press Gazette-commissioned survey has revealed that regional newspapers remain by far the most popular source of information for people about the area in which they live.

YouGov asked a weighted sample of 2,396 adults from across the UK what they thought was the best source of local news and information.

Local or regional newspapers were rated top by 52 per cent of respondents – or more than three times as many as the next most popular choice, BBC TV news (scroll down for the full results).

Chairman of the Society of Editors, and editor of the Manchester
Evening News, Paul Horrocks said: "The result of the survey is great
news and a huge vote of confidence for what a lot of regional
journalists probably already knew.

"I think that regional and local
newspapers concentrate very much more on the day-to-day issues that
actually affect people's lives."

NUJ general secretary Jeremy
Dear said: "Falling advertising revenues have been used as an excuse
for underinvestment, but it's clear that the public does want quality
journalism and will buy local news if it is of a high standard.

"The NUJ
has always argued that well-trained, well-paid journalists in properly
staffed newsrooms is the only way to guarantee a successful media
business."

The survey also lends weight to the strategy
increasingly being pursued by regional titles – that the key to
attracting younger readers lies with more investment online.

In the
18-24 age group, only 41 per cent rated local newspapers as best for
information about where they live.

Some 17 per cent in this age group
said they favoured the BBC website – compared with seven per cent who
rated this as best in the survey as a whole.

Society of Editors
director Bob Satchwell said: "I believe that some of the worries that
have been appearing [about the regional press] over the last couple of
years are largely unfounded in substantial terms.

"But what
they've got to do is to adapt to the need to find the most appropriate
methods of delivering content. The most important thing is they have to
maintain the quality, scale and scope of that content.

"Those
organisations that invest in journalism and ensure that they use all
the available platforms to [publish] that content will survive."

He
said the survey results were a "huge tribute" to the thousands of
journalists in the regional press who have seen their jobs change so
dramatically to encompass new media.

Lynn Anderson,
communications director at the Newspaper Society, said: "During Local
Newspaper Week, it's good to see further evidence that regional and
local papers are considered by far the best source of local news and
information – four times more popular than second-placed BBC TV news.

"Life is increasingly local and the regional press continues to offer
unrivalled coverage of the local issues that affect people's lives." 

The results

Which of the following is the best source of news and information about the local area where you live?

Local/regional paper – 52%
Local/regional paper website – 4%
ITV news – 7%
BBC TV news – 13%
Local commercial radio – 5%
Local BBC radio – 5%
BBC website – 6%
Other website – 2%
Other – 1%
Don't know – 4%

Based on a weighted sample of 2,396 adults in the UK. Poll conducted by YouGov.

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