WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Changing Priorities for TV News Coverage

Apr 21, 2015

An RTDNA survey of news outlets found television stations say they are focusing more on investigative reporting.  The Shop Talk panelists consider that surprising.

Panelist Jasmine Crighton said she watches quite a bit of national and local TV news because she teaches television journalism in the Western Illinois University Department of Broadcasting.

Crighton said she does not see much investigative reporting on television. She said the survey results were based on information news directors submitted themselves rather than an objective analysis.

Crighton said news directors might want to broadcast more investigative stories but she thinks it is not actually happening, especially at a time when the size of newsroom staffs is shrinking.

Rich Egger wondered whether news directors considered some fluff pieces to be investigative – for example, an investigation into how many red M&Ms are in a bag of the candy.  He also said once the reporter’s work is done on an investigative piece, someone should double check the story before it’s made public – and that requires a good deal of time and resources.

Rich Moreno said he does not watch a lot of TV news but he also said it is expensive and time consuming to produce investigative journalism.  He said newspapers have cut back on such reporting so he wondered whether TV stations could manage to produce more.

However, Moreno said it’s good that TV news directors feel their stations are doing more investigative reporting.  He hopes it’s the beginning of a renewed focus on in-depth journalism.