With 329 million people living in a 9.834 million km² country, it is no surprise the US is one of the most important countries to take into consideration when expanding your business or running a PR campaign.
From 50 states to incredibly unique cultural nuances, the US is a vast state with its own quirks and preferences. But how do Americans consume the news and what sources do they trust?
Here is an overview of how people in America keep themselves informed.
What is the current landscape?
2020 brought a series of challenges that changed the face of the country forever. From the Trump mandate coming to an end to protests all over the country and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is safe to say Americans were hit by a lot of changes all at the same time.
Naturally, this resulted in an incredibly polarised media landscape, with newspapers supporting different political parties and reporting the news with different points of view and tones of voice. This is bound to happen in any country going through major social and political changes, and the US was no exception.
In uncertain times, it is common for the general public to try and find reputable sources to trust for information, so who did Americans turn to on a daily basis to know what was going on in the country and the world?
What news sources do Americans trust?
The first factor to consider when trying to speak to an American audience is that there is not one single source of information they solely trust. They would much rather use a variety of sources to then form an opinion independently.
A clear example of this is the 50-50 trust split in newspapers and news outlets. There seems to be a lack of trust in any outlet, from the biggest to the smallest ones, with 48% of Americans at most trusting sources such as CBS News, ABC News, and BBC News.
At the same time, it doesn’t come as a shock that 58% of Americans trust local TV news. With 50 states, each with its own cultural nuances, it is only natural for people to refer to what’s familiar.
However, apart from the lack of trust in one major news source, data shows a general lack of trust and interest that’s hit the US post-pandemic. If it is true that people read more in 2020, with online, TV, social media, and print sources of information being hugely popular back then, then it may also be true that in 2023, Americans’ interest in the news has dropped drastically.
In other words, people in the US are not only trusting the news less but are also engaging with them less.
Social media platforms
31% of Americans share news they read online with their peers and 37% have listened to podcasts recently. This indicates a need for community and a desire to share and discuss current events.
This is also reflected in the high % of Americans using social media to consume news. Facebook (28%), YouTube (23%), and Twitter (13%) are the three most trusted social media news sources in the US, with Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp coming right after.
The data is clear, the surge in news consumption we saw in 2020 failed to translate into long-term usage and trust in 2021 and beyond, leaving Americans browsing different news outlets and social media platforms for their daily dose of current affairs.