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Trend: Local News & Mobile Access

Fri Mar 18, 2011 - 8:15 PM EDT - By Annie Latham

According to Pew Research, 47% of Americans use their cellphones and tablet computers to get local news and information.

The information they seek out on mobile platforms is practical and real time: 42% of mobile device owners report getting weather updates and 37% get material about restaurants or other local businesses on their phones or tablets. Fewer get news about local traffic and transportation, general news alerts or other local topics.

The report also noted that there is an "app gap" in mobile local news: While half get local news on mobile devices, just 11% use apps to do so and only 1% have paid for an app that gives them access to local information.

These findings come from a survey of 2,251 conducted in January by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project and Project for Excellence in Journalism, in partnership with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.

Some details regarding the types of content people get:

> 42% of those who own cellphones or tablet computers use those devices to check local weather reports

> 37% use the devices to find local restaurants or other businesses

> 30% use the devices to get information or news about their local community

> 24% use the devices to check local sports scores and get updates

> 22% use the devices to get information about local traffic or public transportation

> 19% use the devices to get or use coupons or discounts from local stores

> 15% use the devices to get news alerts about community sent via text or email

> 13% have an app on their device that helps them get information about their local community


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