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News Notes

But Didn’t You Say You Had Breaking News?

Okay, I’ll be the bad guy for a moment. I think it’s time we stopped doing these on-air proposals and hey-look-at-me stunts. Like cupcake stores, we may have reached the limit.

Just last week two very lovely news anchors at KRON in San Francisco, Justine Waldman and Grant Lodes (they’re married) announced they will soon be having a baby. Awesome, guys–congrats! But here’s the thing. We got the great news during, well, the news. After teasing viewers that there was an “exclusive and developing story” coming at the end of the 8 p.m. newscast, the segment opened with a full screen DEVELOPING STORY graphic and stinger. Lodes, KRON’s breaking news anchor, then told viewers “now to a developing story we’ve been following–KRON 4′s Justine Waldman is pregnant.”

Wait, what?

Within seconds, we got to see a “new picture just into the KRON 4 newsroom”–an ultrasound image of the baby due in November. I’m a Dad. And I’m on Facebook. I’ve seen plenty of ultrasounds. But this just made me uncomfortable. Again, I think this is fantastic for Justine and Grant, but here’s the thing: I can’t do this anymore. Read more

Taylor Swift and the Future of Local TV News

taylor swiftTaylor Swift, as it turns out, knows a thing or two about the local TV news biz. Just look at the lyrics of her hit song “Ours”: the stakes are high, the water’s rough, but this love is ours. That could easily be said about the love many of us feel for working in television, a business rich with history, but roiled by change.

This morning, The Wall Street Journal published an essay by Swift on the future of the music business, where she argues all is not lost in the face of declining sales, piracy, streaming, and audiences facing an endless sea of digital distractions. “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for.” You could say the same thing for journalism.

Millie Tran, a writer and editor at the American Press Institute, shared Swift’s WSJ piece on Twitter, noting “it has a lot of parallels for the news industry.” And it really does.

Swift’s best advice, both to aspiring singer-songwriters and journalists hoping to keep viewers coming to local news—whether it’s at six o’clock or via a station’s iPad app? Read more

Hearst/GfK Study Finds Local News Leads Trustworthiness Across All Ages

A new study conducted by GfK for Hearst Television finds that television viewers trust local news more than other media platforms, which makes local stations a favorable platform for advertisers. Along with trust, local news stations have a “high level of viewer engagement,” which leads viewers to research and purchase products they see advertised during newscasts.

The study, which comes on the heels of a Gallup poll finding confidence in television news at an all-time low, finds local news is the most trusted platform across all demographics: total respondents, adults 24-54, adults 35-64 and adults 55+:

Local Television Trustworthiness Hearst Study

Read the full study here.

Confidence in Television News Dips to New Low

The percentage of Americans who have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the news media is at a record low, according to a new Gallup poll. Confidence in television news is at an all time low of only 18%, lower than both newspapers (22%) and Internet news (19%).

Gallup Confidence in News Media

RTDNA Study: More Stations Producing Local News

The number of stations originating local news went up slightly (by two stations) this year, according to the latest installment of an RTDNA/Hofstra University study. A total of 1,026 stations run local news, with more planned for next year: the study finds “network affiliates are a lot more likely to expect the amount of news to increase in 2014 over 2013.”

RTDNA Hours of Local News per day

[h/t TVNewsCheck]

RTDNA: 76% of Local Stations Share Content With Other Media

Provide Content to Other Media RTDNA

The latest RTDNA/Hofstra University study finds that 75.9% of stations are involved with other media, down about two and a half points from last year. Almost a third of news directors (31.2%) said they ran news on another local station, and the study finds that content ran on an average of 1.4 stations.

The groups less likely to be involved with other stations: the smallest stations in the biggest markets (66% said they shared content) and Fox affiliates (57%).

See the breakdown of what stations share after the jump. Read more

One in Four Stations Do Not Produce Local Content, Study Finds

pew reseach content sharingPew Research Center’s annual State of the News Media report examines the effects of consolidation on the amount of local news audiences receive, reporting that the number of stations producing local news content has dropped 8% since 2005:

A number of television executives and observers say news sharing agreements, driven largely by the wave of station consolidation, offer real benefits for local viewers. For one thing, they say, these agreements make local news available to more viewers by giving them a choice of how it is presented and when to watch it. But critics say that convenience comes at the cost of competition and diversity in news content.

Related: Pew Report Finds Total Value of Station Acquisition Hits 7-Year High

The overall impact of news sharing is difficult to assess. In some cases, these agreements have reduced the variety of voices and news content available to local viewers; in other cases, they have strengthened quality and enabled underfunded or smaller stations to continue providing news.

Pew Report: Total Value of Station Acquisitions Hits 7-Year High

In the annual State of the News Media report, Pew Research Center finds local television station sales in 2013 were up 205% compared to 2012. Nearly 300 stations were sold last year for a total of $8.8 billion, a 367% increase in total value compared to the previous year.

pew report local tv acquisitions

Sinclair led the way among station groups, purchasing 63 stations in 2013. Gannett purchased Belo, adding 20 stations, and Tribune Co. acquired Local TV, expanding its portfolio by 19 stations. The total value of local television acquisitions in 2013 was the highest it has been since 2006.

American Press Institute Study: Local News Most Popular, Most Trusted News Source

A new study by the American Press Institute finds more Americans turn to local stations, either on television or online, than any other news source. The study finds that 82% of people encounter local news in the course of the week, compared to 73% who watch national broadcast news and 62% who watch 24-hour cable news channels.

News SourcesThe study also found that local news was the most trusted of the news sources — although only about half of Americans responded that they trust any of the sources very much or completely.  Read more

‘Judging by Local News, There’s an Even Bigger Story That’s Sweeping the Nation’

In what has become a recurring segment on his late night show, Conan O’Brien poked fun at local newscasts using identical scripts, playing clips from several anchors reading the exact same line: “Don’t worry, be happy.”

“Some people think the top story tonight is President Obama’s State of the Union address or the upcoming Super Bowl. That’s what they think. But judging by local news, there’s an even bigger story that’s sweeping the nation,” O’Brien joked.

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