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Nieman Journalism Lab
Pushing to the future of journalism — A project of the Nieman Foundation at Harvard

Earlier this month, the Pew Journalism Project confirmed once again that local television is still the way the majority of Americans get their news.

Today, NetNewsCheck announced a new weekly column that will focus on local media. Broadcast television veteran Terry Heaton will write the column, which is aimed at pushing the producers of local media toward a better “understanding of evolving audiences.” He writes:

Most people in the business of local television follow what those inside the industry are saying, which is basically, “Move along, there’s nothing to see here” and “See? We’re the top local preference for news” or “Advertisers spend more money with us than anybody else.”

In certain ways, by turning a blind eye to caution signs on the road ahead, they’re right. Local broadcasters had an all-time record revenue year in 2012, and when one lives by the quarterly report, everything looks just fine. The newspaper collapse began with a record year, however, so that’s hardly a bellwether of comfort and joy. And of course, industry leaders aren’t about to give credence to any alternate view, so the NAB’s annual conferences, for example, completely ignore important questions we should be discussing.

Heaton goes on to detail a list of over a dozen questions and trends he intends to address, with a focus on trends in marketing and public policy.

— Caroline O'Donovan
                                   
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Justin Ellis    April 15, 2014
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