Flush with spectrum-sale dollars, a Pennsylvania PBS station is doubling down on a different kind of local news

Hailed as a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity for local TV stations, the FCC’s spectrum auction last year drove billions of dollars to hundreds of broadcasters across the country. The windfall of cash came from wireless carriers seeking infrastructure for more powerful networks, and now the proceeds are landing in the stations’ bank accounts. So what are the local TV stations doing with a little extra coin? While some are using it to pay off debt (important!), other stations are thinking outside-of-the-TV-box with new types of newscasts and new forms of journalism, new hires, and new infrastructure. Yoni Greenbaum is seizing the opportunity at PBS39/WLVT in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley (90 minutes’ drive from Philadelphia) to hire 10 reporters and two editors onto its existing staff of 42 (that includes marketing, membership, production, etc). Starting in September, that team will create a weekly newscast focused on local issues and solutions — not car Continue reading "Flush with spectrum-sale dollars, a Pennsylvania PBS station is doubling down on a different kind of local news"

What is innovation in local TV news? Andrew Heyward’s new mission is to find out

News flash: A lot of people still watch — and trust — the local TV news. TV is still the No. 1 source of news for Americans, ahead of the entire Internet. And of those TV watchers, nearly 3 in 4 are regular local TV news watchers. But the trendlines are moving in the wrong direction. In 2016, TV had a 19 percentage point lead over online as a frequent source of news for Americans (57 percent to 38 percent). A year later, that lead had been cut to 7 percentage points (50 percent to 43 percent). Cord-cutters and cord-nevers have moved from edge cases to mainstream; young people ages 18 to 24 have cut their TV viewing by abotu eight hours a week just in the past six years. It’s time for an update. Resources for innovation have, generally speaking, flowed more to local newspapers and digital-native publishers Continue reading "What is innovation in local TV news? Andrew Heyward’s new mission is to find out"

How much of what local TV stations post to Facebook is actually local? For many, right around half

If your only source of news is your local TV news station on Facebook, will your news and information needs around what’s going on in your community be met? The forecast isn’t good. Stations’ tag lines make strong pronouncements about being “on your side” and “community-driven” and an area’s “best place for local news.” Facebook going to make local news a priority everywhere, is it drawing on a universe of entirely locally relevant content? I was curious how much of the news that local TV stations posted to Facebook was really local news. So I analyzed 28 TV stations’ Facebook posting activity for the period between March 23 and March 30 — around 8,000 total posts — downloaded via CrowdTangle. (Caveat: CrowdTangle is only able to pull public posts, so our analysis doesn’t include targeted posts intended for a subset audience. I was also only able to look at English-language
Continue reading "How much of what local TV stations post to Facebook is actually local? For many, right around half"

From Nieman Reports: Reinventing local TV news might require going over the top

When the Rev. Billy Graham died in February, Raleigh-based WRAL-TV provided expansive coverage of the famed evangelist’s life and legacy. That was no surprise since, after all, the pastor was a North Carolina native, and — though his funeral was held in his hometown of Charlotte, more than 150 miles away — generations of Raleigh-area residents had watched Graham’s global crusades, which WRAL broadcast beginning in the 1970s, on their home television sets. In addition to reporting the news of Graham’s death, the station produced a 30-minute special, “Remembering Billy Graham.” It aired the day of his funeral, which was livestreamed on the WRAL website, Facebook, and their mobile news app as well as broadcast live on television, pre-empting the noon newscast. Those interested in even more coverage of Graham could have turned to WRAL’s over-the-top (OTT) apps, available for Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, and Chromecast. Continue reading "From Nieman Reports: Reinventing local TV news might require going over the top"

“Thank God you’re not in newspapers”: Local TV is doing way better than you’d think, a new report suggests

Local TV news does not feel exciting. It feels old-fashioned, and there’s plenty of research to support that viewpoint: The percentage of Americans that gets news from TV is decreasing, Pew shows, and those who do get news there are old. My age bracket associates local TV news primarily with the Will Ferrell film Anchorman. Younger people may find it even less relevant. But we should not be underestimating local TV news, suggests a giant new report from the Knight Foundation — especially as a source of online news outside the largest markets. “No other existing news medium appears to have more advantages right now than local TV news,” write the authors of the big five-part report, which was released Thursday morning. Knight is paying increasing attention to local TV news; earlier this year, it provided $2.6 million to five organizations working on local TV news projects. (Knight Continue reading "“Thank God you’re not in newspapers”: Local TV is doing way better than you’d think, a new report suggests"

Here’s who gets news from TV: The elderly, Pew finds (again)

2018 could mark a tipping point: The first time that the percentage of Americans who regularly get news online exceeds the percentage who get news from television. Last year, we were almost there. The number of Americans who regularly get news from television fell again between 2016 and 2017, Pew noted Friday, from 57 percent at the beginning of 2016 to 50 percent in August 2017. While local news saw the biggest decline, it also still has the largest audience: It’s primarily older people who get their news from TV — for instance, 58 percent of those over 65 often get news from cable, versus just 10 percent of those 18 to 29. Adults who’ve completed college are less likely to get news from local and network TV, though Pew didn’t find a correlation between level of education and watching cable.

Must Reads in Media & Technology: July 17

Must Reads is MediaShift’s daily curation of the big stories about media and technology from across the web. Sign up here to get these delivered right to your inbox.
1. Google Says it Wants to Fund the News, Not Fake It (Jessica Goodfellow & Ronan Shields / The Drum) 2. State of the News Media: Local TV News Has Shed Audience Over the Past Decade (Katerina Eva Matsa / Pew Research Center) 3. Fighting Falsehoods Around the World: A Dispatch on the Growing Global Fact-Checking Movement (Michelle Ye Hee Lee / Washington Post) 4. Newspapers’ Stand Against Tech Giants Won’t Save Them (Will Oremus / Slate) 5. Billy Penn’s Chris Krewson: ‘Focus on your Readers, Start Thinking About Ways That You Can Solve Their Problems, and Act on That.’ (Marty Kaiser / Poynter) 6. Expanding Post-Y Combinator, OMGDigital Wants to Win the African Continue reading "Must Reads in Media & Technology: July 17"