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Phoenicians Rank Community Connection High In Local News, Mirroring National Trend

The Pew Research Center finds audience attitudes toward local news is not what you might expect, finding the connection an audience feels with local journalists is very important in determining loyalty and confidence in the journalism produced by the news outlet.

Pew's analysis finds respondents who live in a metro area believe it is very important for journalists to be personally engaged in the local community they serve.

"It's important that local journalists understand the history of the local community, 85 percent put that as important, 40-some percent say that it's very important," said Amy Mitchell, director of Journalism Research. "For the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metro, 57 percent of survey respondents believe local journalists are in touch with the local community. 61 percent of respondents say that local journalists do a good job of covering local news" she said.

The analysis finds that six-in-ten self-described urban residents say that their local news media mainly cover the area they live in, while a majority of those who self-describe as rural residents say the opposite is true — their local news media mostly cover some other area, such as a nearby city.

Despite feeling that their local news media are less connected to their communities, self-described rural residents express the same level of desire as urban and suburban residents for getting news from journalists who are personally engaged in their communities – 44 percent of urban residents, 41 percent of suburban residents and 42 percent of rural residents say it is very important for journalists to be personally engaged in the local community they serve.

Heather van Blokland was a host at KJZZ from 2016 to 2021.