local newspaperHave you ever wondered how the community that a person lives in affects the type of news they’re interested in and the ways that they access news? Last year, Pew Reserach Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and Internet & American Life Project (with the Knight Foundation) conducted a survey of U.S. adults to get the answers.

According to the study, the type of community a person lives in (i.e., urban, suburban, small town, or rural) has little affect on their interest in news in general. For the most part, they’re also interested in the same news topics. Bigger differences can be found in the ways people get local ews and the number of sources they use to get news.

For example, urban residents (typically made up of a younger demographic that is more mobile than people in other communities according to the study) are more likely to use a wide variety of platforms to access local news and information via digital activities (including internet searches) than residents of other community types.

Both urban and suburban residents are likely to get local news via mobile devices than residents of other community types, and they’re also more likely to be active local news participators (meaning they email local stories to other people, post news or information about their local communities on social networking sites or Twitter, comment on local stories they read online, contribute to online discussions on forums about their local communities, and so on). However, suburban residents are more likely to rely on local radio to access news. The study authors attribute this to long commutes in cars where radio is easily accessible.

Small town residents are more likely to rely on traditional news platforms, including television and newspapers, to get local news. Rural residents are also more likely to access local news via newspapers and television, but they’re less interested in almost all local news topics than residents of any other community types.

The study revealed that 53% to 60% of Americans (across the four community types) claim they enjoy keeping up with the news “a lot.” 54% to 58% of Americans in the four community types enjoy following international news closely regardless of what is happening at any specific time.

Bottom-line, Americans are interested in local, national, and international news, but the types of communities they live in can affect how they access that news. Clearly, more and more people are shifting to accessing, discussing, and sharing news online, and that’s a trend that is unlikely to reverse. In fact, we’ll continue to see mobile news consumption grow significantly in the near future.

You can read the full report here.

Image: Kay Pat