The State of TV News from Pew – 2013: It’s not good.

TV news industry professionals know too well that the state of the industry isn’t looking so hot:

“Local TV finds itself newly vulnerable.  Local TV audiences were down across every key time slot and across all networks in 2012. And the off-peak news hours like 4:30 a.m. that stations had been adding for years seem to have hit their audience ceiling. While local TV remains a top news source for Americans, the percentage is dropping—and dropping sharply among younger generations.  Regular local TV viewership among adults under 30 fell from 42% in 2006 to just 28% in 2012, according to Pew Research survey data.   What’s more, the topics people go there for most—weather and breaking news (and to a lesser extent traffic)—are ripe for replacement by any number of Web- and mobile-based outlets.  While many stations ramped up their digital news offerings in the past year, they are late to the digital game. Advertising revenues were up for the year, but that was largely due to a windfall of $2.9 billion in political advertising revenue, something that cannot be replicated in non-election years. Over all, average revenue for news-producing stations declined by more than a third (36%) from 2006 to 2011.” – Read more important info on the state of news media from Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism

What will it take for TV news to transform to something more watchable? I hear form my students all of the time that they don’t watch TV news because “it’s boring,” they “don’t like the types of news there,” “news stories are done poorly.” If the industry starts by addressing these issues alone, the trend could reverse.These students don’t think it is boring because it is serious. They think the stories being told are boring, or they saw the video already online, or a million other reasons here. Yes, they want and expect to be entertained but they do also want to be informed and have interesting things to share. But there attention has to be grabbed and held – and not with cuddly animals, car crashes, fear and fluff.

Quality, thoughtful, interesting, nicely shot and edited, original content told by professional storytellers that aren’t speaking at you but with you – not because they think it is fun to be on TV –  but because they are serious, professionals that strive to inform and spark your interests – there’s a good place to start!


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