WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Local TV News Lacking Substance

Feb 18, 2014

The Shop Talk panelists discuss the problems plaguing local TV news.

The issue was the subject of a recent opinion piece in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Tom Klimcheck, who, among other things, wrote, “The actual content of the news is woefully lacking.”

Shop Talk panelist Lisa Kernek believes some of the blame belongs with management decisions to reduce staff sizes. She said smaller staff sizes prevent reporters from specializing in particular beats or having time for accountability reporting.  She wonders how stations are spending the money they take in.

Panelist Jasmine Garcia does not believe it’s time to write the obituary for local TV news, but she acknowledged many stations have gotten away from their mission of informing the public. She said many newscasts are filled with video that viewers might want to watch rather than stories that should be important to them.

The panelists said deregulation has allowed stations to forego true local coverage in favor of fluff that might draw more viewers.

They also pointed out there continues to be a large audience for local TV news.  They simply wish the newscasts were filled with more meaningful content.