Louisianans Trust Local Media but Still See Bias, according to Louisiana Survey

April 16, 2018

Baton Rouge, LAThe last of six reports from the 2018 Louisiana Survey, a project of the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs at LSU’s Manship School for Mass Communication, shows that more than three-quarters of Louisianans trust local media over national media and believe that local news organizations keep them informed. Still, 60 percent of people surveyed report that they believe local news organizations tend to favor one side.

“The results of the survey show that Louisianans value local news outlets and trust those outlets to keep them informed about what is happening around our state and nation, but many respondents also want to see more balanced reporting,” said Dr. Michael Henderson, director of the Public Policy Research Lab, which conducted the survey.

Results of the survey show:

  • About three-fourths of Louisiana residents say that local news organizations keep them very well informed (25 percent) or fairly well informed (49 percent) about state politics.
  • When it comes to trusting information from news organizations, more Louisiana residents trust local media than national media. Overall, 78 percent trust the information they get from local news organizations a lot or some, but only 57 percent trust the information they get from national news organizations.
  • Many Louisiana residents see a bias in local news. Sixty percent say local news organizations tend to favor one side, while only 36 percent say they deal fairly with all sides.
  • Most Louisiana residents (56 percent) think that local news organizations are accurate in their reporting, which is much higher than the share who think national news organizations generally get the facts straight (32 percent).

The Louisiana Survey has been conducted each year since 2003 and twice in 2006, establishing rich longitudinal measures of public opinion in Louisiana. The mission of the Louisiana Survey is to establish benchmarks as well as to capture change in residents’ assessments of state government services. The survey is further dedicated to tracking public opinion on the contemporary policy issues that face the state. Each iteration of the Louisiana Survey contains core items designed to serve as barometers of public sentiment, including assessments of whether the state is heading in the right direction or wrong direction, perceptions about the most important problems facing the state, as well as evaluations of public revenue sources and spending priorities.

The survey is a project of the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs, an integral part of the Manship School of Mass Communication. The Reilly Center’s mission is to generate thoughtful programs, dialogue and research about mass communication and its many faceted relationships with social, economic and political issues.

Read the full sixth report from the Louisiana Survey. View an archive of past Louisiana Surveys and results.

For more information or to schedule an interview with the report’s author, contact smalin@lsu.edu.