WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Local TV News Holding its Own

Jan 9, 2019

An article on the RTDNA website said local news is not dying if you look to TV.  Kevin Mott, who is a Program Analyst at the Stanton Foundation, writes in the piece that local television news has demonstrated growing revenue, stable employment, and robust viewership. 

Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Crighton is not surprised. She said she hears throughout the year from TV stations looking for students with broadcast writing experience.

Crighton also said many local TV stations are not generating revenue from advertising but rather through retransmission fees from cable TV companies.

Panelist Will Buss wishes local newspapers were doing as well.  He said newspapers have not generated as much revenue as hoped from the web and staff sizes have dwindled dramatically.  He believes local papers can turn it around by doing more in-depth reporting.

Panelist Rich Egger said that local news might not be dying thanks to TV, but it’s not nearly as strong if newspapers are struggling.  He said well-staffed newspapers have historically done more digging and provided deeper coverage than TV.

Crighton responded that some local TV stations do deeper dives into issues but it’s up to management to set the tone.  She said news directors have to give their reporters time to work on such stories, and she believes stations are finding that audiences are interested in this kind of reporting.

Jasmine Crighton is News Director of NEWS3 at Western Illinois University and Will Buss is the Director of Student Publications at WIU.