Local News Was No. 1 Information Source During Wildfires, Study Says

By Stephanie Tsoflias Siegel 

Research shows local television news was the No. 1 information source for people living near the recent wildfires in California.

TVB released data from recent analysis today.

“Recent wildfires that burned thousands of acres of land across California created an urgent need for reliable, real-time local reporting on everything from mandatory evacuation orders to fire safety preparedness. The California Wildfires Media Usage Study is another proof point among a multitude of research confirming local broadcast television’s continued dominant position among consumers as the most trusted and relied upon news source for potentially life-saving coverage in times of emergency,” said Steve Lanzano, TVB president and CEO.


1,553 respondents were surveyed. Interviews began Oct. 29 in Los Angeles and San Francisco and concluded Nov. 4.

The study revealed the following:.

News Source: 79% of respondents used TV station news for information about the wildfires as compared to the second highest, radio, at 47%.
Time Spent: At 2 hours and 35 minutes, respondents spent more time with local broadcast television than any other source, more than twice the time spent with radio, the second highest platform.
Trust: Local broadcast TV news assets were the most trusted source for coverage and information. 90% of respondents agreed that TV station news was the most trusted, while TV station news websites and apps were also a trusted source at 81%. Social media was the lowest at 58%.
Why Local TV Assets?
The top reason cited for watching TV station news was that respondents wanted information pertaining to their area.
The top reason cited for using TV station news websites and apps was that they trust the news from their station’s website/app.

TVB is the not-for-profit trade association of America’s local broadcast television industry.