The news Philadelphians use: Analyzing the local media landscape


Local news is a democratic staple, and working to create a healthy local media ecosystem is a goal for many cities. Figuring out what gaps exist — whether certain areas receive less coverage relative to others or whether certain topics are of interest to the public but are rarely mentioned in the media — can be helpful in guiding new ideas.

The Center for Media Engagement, with funding from The Lenfest Institute and Independence Public Media Foundation, analyzed over 60,000 local media articles across 86 sites and the perceptions 1,500 Philadelphians have about their local media. These two analyses, and the comparison between them, allowed us to examine where there are gaps in the news ecosystem.

We found that the most populous areas are not always covered most frequently. Issues like crime and safety or sanitation and trash removal emerged as consistently important topics for Philadelphians, yet these issues weren’t always evaluated as being adequately covered. We hope that this report can help to guide new initiatives in Philadelphia’s news landscape.

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