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The Future of TV News

Adweek, Poynter, et al.

A new Knight Foundation study, co-authored by Robert Papper, distinguished professor emeritus in the Department of Journalism, Media Studies, and Public Relations, examines the future of the television news industry as it competes for viewers, ratings, and relevance in a rapidly changing digital media landscape.    

Some of the authors’ key findings:

  • Television news still outranks digital as the top source for news in the U.S., but not when it comes to millennials, who watch less news than previous generations – and when they do, it is through digital, mobile, and social content.
  • While newspapers are the primary supplier of online local news in the country’s 25 biggest markets, TV is the primary supplier of online local news for the rest of the country.
  • As of 2018, more people work in local TV newsrooms than at daily newspapers, and the average TV station has far more news staff than the average daily newspaper. In some cases, TV stations have hired top reporters from newspapers who bring considerable investigative, digital, or social media skills.
  • Local TV dominates engagement in social media compared to all other media.
  • Local television news stations that are experiencing the greatest success also show innovation digitally, on websites, apps, and social streams. They are also placing a greater emphasis on investigative journalism and deep beat reporting that are relevant to local residents’ lives.

Additional findings from the four-part study will be released later this month.

The study has been covered extensively in outlets including Adweek, TV News Check , the Nieman Lab at Harvard, Poynter,  and the Radio + Television Business Report.

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