Friday, 14 August 2020 21:14

American Views 2020: Trust, Media and Democracy


Local news plays a key role in political and civic engagement.


  • Thirty-one percent of Americans say they follow news about issues affecting their local community “very closely,” an increase from 25% in 2017. However, most Americans are not very confident in their knowledge relating to public affairs in their community.
  • Americans who follow local news closely are more likely to vote in local elections and to feel attached to their communities. They are less likely to say that “people like me don’t have any say in what the government does.”
  • Americans who primarily access their news online---predominantly, younger Americans---are less likely to be knowledgeable about their local communities and to feel attached to their communities.


In a deeply divided nation, majorities of Americans say the media bears blame for political division. But they also see the potential for the media to heal the divide.


  • Forty-eight percent of Americans say the media bears “a great deal” of blame for political division in this country, while 36% say they bear “a moderate amount.”
  • But nearly identical percentages say the media could do “a great deal” (49%) or “a moderate amount” (35%) to heal those divisions.


The full report can be downloaded here


We thank the Knight Foundation for reprint permission.

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