The current state and reality of local news are complex. In today's overwhelming media ecosystem, the relationship between readers and media brands is a complex one. A detailed report published on October 29, 2019, revealed Americans trust local news more than national outlets.

The name of the study is titled, "The State of Public Trust in Local News." Within the report, research findings indicate even though Americans trust local news sources more than national media, the confidence in local sources is fragile. In other words, that it could be lost down the line and its reputation eroded.

Since the successful election of Donald Trump for president in 2016, the political atmosphere has become polarized. This politicization has also spread into the industry. This means political affiliation has become a determining factor for people tuning into local sources.

Newsrooms at the present time are constantly facing financial challenges and lots of competition in this new media environment. As reported by the Pew Research Center, United States (U.S) newsroom employment dropped by 25 percent since 2008.

Economic forces, social media and the transformation of the media business have really affected the perception of media organizations.

News trust levels depend significantly on political party

As mentioned above, when it comes to trusting a communications brand or outlet party affiliation is all that matters for news consumers in the U.S.

According to the study, 50 percent of Democrats expressed high levels of trust towards local sources whereas just 27 percent of Republicans have confidence in local sources.

For Independents, just 31 percent expressed high levels of trust in local media organizations.

A year ago, an in-depth report by the Knight Foundation ascertained a decline in confidence in news media overall.

It is difficult to still to understand the magnitude of what media entities are going through.

Local news sources are not perceived as favorable

The argument can be made about local news sources being less biased by the likes of larger news organizations.

The study also compared local news with similar and local institutions. As it turns out, local outlets are the least trusted and ranked below public libraries. Moreover, they are ranked below local law enforcement. The kicker here is local ranks above local government.


The struggles may not seem obvious on the surface, yet they can be linked to the financial struggles the industry continually faces.

One of the conclusions of the study was local newsrooms may fall victim to the complex of national news organizations. Consequently, if they become very aggressive in their coverage for social and political topics they will become synonymous with partisan and biased sources.