I love PEW Research.  There is not a thing they don’t research and that includes the state of the media.  Local TV: Good News After the Fall is an in-depth piece about the current face of local television.   Among some of the highlights:

  • Loss of viewers to local television viewership has slowed down
  • More stations have added newscasts at 4:30 AM
  • Ad revenues are up an estimated 17%
  • Local news operations are hiring again (but there’s a catch)

The catch is there are more “one-man bands” out there covering news, where the reporter is also the shooter (camera person) and the editor.  So while their hiring more people, those same people are doing double and triple duty in some cases.

So, here’s my beef: If there’s more time to air newscasts (such as 4:30 AM and 4:00 PM with the loss of Oprah), and technically more people covering the news, why can’t news operations do more than just re-hash the same news every half hour from 4-6:30 PM (or for that matter from 4:30 AM until 7:00 AM, and in some cases, even later)?

Part of my problem is I’m a news junkie.  Especially local/regional news.  I’ve never been a fan of world and national news in a local newscast because for the most part, that’s why we have network affiliations.  And, in this day and age, that’s why we have a handful of 24 hour cable news channels that can handle that better than some local station regurgitating some pre-packaged piece that will probably air during the network news at 6:30.

Local news needs to better utilize the resources they have to actually cover and discover news.  I’m not saying they need to cover every town meeting, but there is news – real news, out there.  It just needs to be better found.