The Chicago Community Trust has conducted surveys of about 800 local residents and about 250 community leaders to get a better idea about whether Chicagoans believe their news and information needs are being met.
The survey found that'internet access is widespread and, in general, 87 percent of Chicagoans feel adequately or well informed. Libraries are playing a significant role in meeting information needs, according to the survey.
Despite the positives in general, those surveyed cited these shortcomings in the news ecosystem:
- Inadequate political information. Just over half said they don't have enough information to know how to vote. Nearly half think the news media does not do a good enough job of covering state and local government.
- Lack of relevance of news media coverage. Half say news media "does not cover issues I care about very well."
-'News overload. People feel overwhelmed by the volume of news.
- Digital and class divide. Some Chicagoans are better served than others. While leaders and more affluent white residents' have access to news and information, those who are less affluent and educated, Latino and African-American and those for whom English is a second language are less well served. They tend to be less engaged in civic affairs and less empowered by technology.
-'Need for more diverse views. Two-thirds say they want more opportunities to hear the views of others.
Results of the survey and other research by the Trust will be released Thursday afternoon. Reports will be posted at'communitynewsmatters.org and there will be a live feed of the announcements'here or follow #cnm2010 on Twitter.
The Trust project is a two-time Knight Community Information Challenge winner. In addition to its research, the Trust makes small grants to local news start ups and organizations to strengthen the news ecosystem in Chicago.