Amid the challenges and opportunities facing local news outlets, The Lenfest Institute for Journalism is among the first organizations focused solely on the role of local journalism in democracy. Its work aims to sustain and improve a healthy ecosystem where every citizen is heard and represented. This principle of community listening was a driving force behind Being Informed: A Study of the Information Needs and Habits of Philadelphia residents. The Institute also believes in a human-centered approach to building sustainable local news and information businesses, and this study also aims to inspire new products to serve citizens’ needs.
This study, co-authored by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, examines a small sample of Philadelphia residents and identifies significant trends that cut across all ages, races and socioeconomic backgrounds. The findings may debunk some assumptions about their news needs, and will offer insights into the waning trust consumers place in regional media.
From picking up a newspaper to scrolling through a Facebook feed, there are ever more ways people consume their daily news diet. This study divides major findings into information needs, information sources, consumption habits, participants’ recommendations, and final conclusions and recommendations.