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    May 10, 2019, 10:54 a.m.
    Reporting & Production
    LINK:   |   Posted by: Laura Hazard Owen   |   May 10, 2019

    Seventy-eight percent of Americans have never spoken with a local journalist at all, — but of the 21 percent who say they have (1 percent didn’t answer), they are more likely to be white, college-educated, and older.

    From Pew:

    About 23% of whites have had this kind of interaction, compared with 19% of blacks and 14% of Hispanics, according to the survey, conducted Oct. 15-Nov. 8, 2018, among nearly 35,000 U.S. adults.

    Older Americans are also more likely to have had personal contact with a local journalist: A quarter of U.S. adults ages 65 and over have done so, compared with 17% of those ages 18 to 29. (This may not come as a surprise: Since the question asked whether Americans have “ever” spoken to a local journalist, older adults have had more time — and a greater chance — to interact with a local reporter.)…

    Educational attainment and income are also tied to Americans’ likelihood of having talked with local news media. The highly educated — those with at least a college degree — are about twice as likely as those with a high school degree or less to have spoken with a local journalist (27% vs. 14%, respectively). And while 26% of those with an income of $75,000 or more have spoken with a local journalist, the share falls to 20% of those who earn between $30,000 and $74,999 and 17% of those who make less than $30,000.

    Pew also found that, in 2018, fewer Americans said they had spoken with a local journalist than said the same thing in 2016 — which could be due to a combination of factors, most obviously the fact that there are fewer local journalists to go around than there used to be. Pew also suggests that time-pressed reporters might be relying more on social media — seeing what people are tweeting about a given topic — to represent the public’s voice on issues in the news.

    It’s worth noting that these results differ depending on what part of the United States you live in. and , 25 percent of those surveyed report having talked to a local reporter; that number is only 17 percent and , 15 percent , , and , and 14 percent . (You can search for your city’s results on this and a host of other news issues .)

    If you’re a local journalist looking at these numbers and wondering how to do better, a guide that the Center for Journalism Ethics published this week offers tips on how journalists can make their community interactions less “extractive” and more “morally justifiable.”

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