Ohioans have vastly different expectations and levels of trust in media depending on political position and often age. A statewide Your Voice Ohio poll conducted in the summer of 2020 by the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron revealed some of the following characteristics of news consumption:
• Older Ohioans who watch network, local and cable news plus read newspapers had the least confidence that any news source would provide the information they would like to have about important issues. They account for about 24 percent of the population.
• People who might be defined as news junkies because of high rates of consumption of all information sources had the highest confidence in news media. That group was one of the smallest, at 18 percent.
• Trump supporters were least confident that traditional media, such as local and national television and newspapers, would provide the information they wanted during the election. They tended to have more trust in cable news, family and friends, talk radio, social media and blogs.
• Neither Trump nor Biden supporters expected that local newspapers would provide the information they wanted on politics and issues.
• Among religious groups, evangelical protestants had the least confidence that news media would provide the information they wanted.
Ohioans identify weaknesses in coverage
• COVID-19, structural racism and criminal justice ranked as first, fifth and eighth most important issues for Ohioans last summer. People who were most likely to name those issues consumed national newspapers, national television and cable news for information.
• The economy, affordable health care, livable wages, affordable/healthy food and quality education were the second, third, fourth, sixth and seventh most important issues, but no local or national media rose to the forefront as a reliable source. Local news generally scored poorly.