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Study reveals personal impact, changes in media consumption during pandemic

Credit: SmithGeiger
Credit: SmithGeiger
Credit: SmithGeiger
Credit: SmithGeiger
Credit: SmithGeiger
Credit: SmithGeiger

A study shows a vast majority of Americans have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and they’re going to the media for reassurance.

SmithGeiger conducted a poll of Americans on March 19.

The results show 85 percent of Americans say they have experienced a change in their daily lives. Nearly the same amount (84 percent) said they are concerned about contracting the virus, while 54 percent of those polled expect things to get worse.

The poll showed 81 percent have been personally impacted.

“Uncertainty, frustration, anxiety and alarm are the most common sentiments, fueling the demand for information and reassurance,” the study stated.

Not surprisingly, news consumption has increased significantly over recent weeks. The polling by Smith Geiger shows 92 percent of people are paying attention to the pandemic.

Where are people consuming the latest COVID-19 news?

The poll shows live linear TV is “experiencing a resurgence”.

  • 84% are watching live linear TV
  • 78% are streaming

People are talking about the pandemic a lot, according to the respondents. The poll shows 89 percent of respondents are discussing the news, which 75 are sharing news stories.

The results show two media sources stand out as the most used: Local news programs and Facebook.

The poll shows 91 percent of respondents are turning to local news – whether it’s on linear TV or digital.

  • 82% are watching local news programs on TV
  • 69% are visiting local TV station’s websites
  • 57% are using a local news app

“Local news is delivering highly relevant information including guidelines on avoiding infection, clarity of recommendations from local and state government, and current information about local cases of infection,” according to the study.

Pandemic Coverage Performance

  • Local news performance – 75%
  • Network News – 61%
  • CDC – 54%
  • State Govt. – 51%
  • Local Govt. – 48%
  • White House – 41%
  • Federal Govt. 41%
  • Congress – 32%

Where are people placing their trust?

The study shows 75 percent of respondents say local news is exceeding their expectations. And that’s with 39 percent of people saying they’re watching local news programs more often.

“Local news is the most trusted source and the place viewers have the most confidence in,” the study stated.

Cable news comes in second in the trust category. 72 percent say they are watching cable news, while 79 percent are watching network news programs.

The number one source for 18-34 year-olds is Facebook.

Travis Sloan

Group Social Media and Digital Content Manager for Quincy Media, Inc.

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