Pablo De La Rosa is a freelance journalist, reporting statewide for Texas Public Radio and nationally for NPR.

Most trust local news more than social–but not if they’re under 30 or to “hold powerful people accountable”

While trust in local and national outlets continues to decrease overall since 2016, for Americans under the age of 30 social media is steadily becoming more trustworthy.

The Pew Research Center reports that only 33% of Americans overall trust news they see on social media. Compare that with 61% who trust national outlets and a whopping 71% who say they place their trust in local news.

But it turns out this insight is not quite as dramatic when looking at younger generations of news consumers today. For people under 30, social media is now almost as trustworthy as national outlets.

From the Pew report:

The share of adults under 30 who express at least some trust in information from social media is at its highest level (tied with summer 2019), while the share with trust in national news is at its lowest level (tied with last year).

Indeed, the 6 percentage point gap between the share of young adults who trust social media sites and the share who trust national news outlets is the smallest for any age group since the Center first asked this question in 2016.

In a similar survey by Knight-Gallup that also found more trust in local news across broad groups when compared to other news sources, data showed that local news was not as highly trusted for certain kinds of coverage.

While the Knight-Gallup report found that 6 in 10 Americans said that local news organizations are accomplishing “key tasks” in informing communities, an equal number said local news outlets do a “fair” to “poor” job of accountability reporting.

From the Knight-Gallup report:

One area where local news outlets needs to improve is in accountability reporting: Americans are not fully persuaded that local news is holding powerful people and institutions accountable.

Americans also feel that several topics warrant more attention from local news sources: Areas needing additional coverage include… the environment (64%), and plans for public works projects (64%).


Pablo De La Rosa reports on immigration, border communities, preserving democracy, and Latin America for Texas Public Radio and NPR from the Texas-Mexico border, where he grew up. He’s the host of the daily Spanish newscast TPR Noticias Al Día and a regular contributor at The Border Chronicle.

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