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Why isn’t local TV news more partisan?

If you believe the mass media are constantly devolving, here’s something to ponder:

Why hasn’t local TV news become more partisan?

After all, one only need look at cable news to see the success of tendentiousness. Fox News has become Number One with right-wing propaganda; MSNBC’s evening lineup of committed lefties ranks second. Meanwhile, Lou Dobbs-jettisoning CNN regularly finishes third or even fourth behind sibling network Headline News.

You’ll hear complaints that one of our local outlets has a systemic bias — Republicans ripping “DFL Don” Shelby or KSTP criticized as GOP water-carriers for reports like this. However, viewers don’t agree, at least when it comes to what station they watch.

According to one local researcher (identities protected so they could speak freely to my cockamamie thesis), KARE’s audience swings a tiny bit Republican, WCCO’s a tiny bit DFL and KSTP’s — surprisingly to me at least — balances out. Fox9, despite its corporate parentage, doesn’t share the network’s partisan bias, in my humble opinion.

So despite stylistic differences — KARE’s storytelling, WCCO’s probity, KSTP’s ambulance-chasing, and Fox9’s length — TV remains a monoculture, mostly fighting in the middle of the ideological playing field.

That might make for more objective and responsible newsgathering, but some would say more pack-like and less interesting. As Alan Mutter, who writes “Reflections of a Newsosaur” noted in a recent column about the Wall Street Journal’s alleged rightward turn in its news (not editorial) pages:

While the conventional reaction is to say [Journal owner Rupert] Murdoch is out of line, he may be on to something. Given the wobbly economics of the media today, conscientiously opinionated coverage may be the tonic that many newspapers and other news outlets need to revive reader interest and revenues.

I’m not saying partisan local news wouldn’t hurt America. I floated the concept to a number of current and former TV reporters, and all reacted with varying degrees of horror. Most said they didn’t get into the business to twist coverage for preconceived bias.

Some mentioned a practical consideration: they’d be forever typecast as ideologues, making it harder to get the next gig. I understand their feelings; I once contemplated starting a website to blackball all the hack CNN reporters like Casey Wian who picked up paychecks enthusiastically feeding Dobbs’ misrepresentations.

But this piece is more about bloodless business decisions. TV, more than most media, is about getting paid. So why hasn’t some station exec busted this move?

Practically speaking, KARE (which rules the ad-coveted 25/54-year-old demographic) and WCCO (which leads in total households at 10 p.m.) have little reason to experiment. But also-rans have less excuse … or more precisely, more incentive.

KSTP, though drawing a bit closer to the leaders lately, has long been a perennial third at 10 p.m. Fox9 is fourth in most time slots. There’s also a fifth local player: KSTC, KSTP’s sibling station that started newscasts in July, and is literally an asterisk at ratings time. I guarantee Channel 45 would earn a real number if they found a local Bill O’Reilly.

So why wouldn’t one of them throw caution to the wind and go the Fox News or MSNBC route? Become the station that substitutes “death tax” for “estate tax”; setting the table for the Tea Party, if you will. You don’t have to go full demagogue; you could model yourself on, say, a well-reported opinion journal.

After all, getting 10-15 percent of the local audience makes a station the ratings champ, but fully 25 percent of the public identifies with second-place Republicans and 33 percent with the Democrats, according to Pollster.com averages. There are lots of viewers at the barbell’s ends.

Here are the reasons it hasn’t happened, according to local pros:

1. Cable is a niche, local is not. People sometimes forget how small cable news audiences really are. O’Reilly is by far the Ratings King, but his oft-celebrated audience is about half of oft-scorned Katie Couric, the lowest-ranked broadcast anchor. At 10 p.m., 40 percent of local viewers are watching the Big Four; cable news is fighting over about 5 percent of the national audience.

2. Cable is old, local is not. Current numbers show 72 percent of O’Reilly’s audience outside the 25/54 demo; it’s safe to assume most are older, since three years ago, his average viewer’s age was pegged at a Medicare-friendly 71. Local news skews much younger: even WCCO, with the highest share of older viewers, has 40-50 percent in the advertiser sweet spot.

3. Cable is consistent, local is not. Like radio, cable has no problem programming an entirely ideological day. But news is only one thing local TV stations run. The last thing they — and more importantly, their advertisers — want is steamed partisans boycotting game shows or prime time. News is a big local moneymaker, but it’s not the only one, and controversy is often taint.

4. Local quirks.  As I noted above, a bit player like KSTC has by far the biggest upside should it wave the bloody shirt. But the Hubbard-owned station mostly exists to repurpose KSTP content, so altering one station would reflect on both.

5. History. The indelibility of the non-ideological dynamic can be seen by how few local stations anywhere have tried blatant partisanship. One that did, the Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcasting Group — which forced stations to broadcast a 2004 anti-John Kerry documentary and fired a journalist who complained — didn’t see any upside.

One thing not blocking the way: the Federal Communications Commission. There’s no Fairness Doctrine requiring balanced content, pros say.

So does this mean Frank Vascellaro will never be replaced by Jason Lewis? I’m not so sure. Local news-watching is trending downward, the population is aging, and the Internet’s pull may leave broadcast’s vestige with cable’s dynamic. Maybe an independent player will buy an over-the-air station and try an all-winger day. But for now, programmed bias remains either imaginary, inconsistent, or well-coded.

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Comments (26)

  1. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 12/16/2009 - 12:59 pm.

    I think a better question might be, why doesn’t one of the local newscasts decide to compete on *quality* ??

  2. Submitted by Annalise Cudahy on 12/16/2009 - 01:42 pm.

    I’ve often wondered if the cable networks were inherently different, but I’ve always been too lazy or otherwise distracted to dig something up. Thank you! This is excellent.

  3. Submitted by Terry Hayes on 12/16/2009 - 02:33 pm.

    I totally agree with comment #1. But David, why do you want to reinforce the misconception that MSNBC is just FOX with a leftwing bias?
    FOX is a whole different thing. Olberman, Maddow, and Ed Schulz don’t have an agenda.
    They have reality. Fox makes things up. (They lie.) Olberman is a serious commentator.
    O’Reilly is a joke. Sean Hannity—gimme a break. Thank god we have Olberman and Maddow and others like them purveying a bit of truth and sanity in the vast wasteland of tv news.
    (And Bill Moyers–why aren’t there more of him?)

  4. Submitted by Brian Simon on 12/16/2009 - 02:43 pm.

    I agree about Fox 9 not mimicing the cable outlet’s partisan bent. Where the local variant gets annoying is in packing the ‘local’ news with stories from elsewhere in the country & running infomercials / press releases from shows like American Idol as ‘news’.

    For the local news genre, I agree with Levine, above: who will dare to compete on quality? Or is that too expensive & therefore too risky?

  5. Submitted by David Brauer on 12/16/2009 - 03:25 pm.

    Terry –

    Go back and read exactly what I wrote. I’d argue my descriptions are not equivalent, and both are accurate. (Not trying to be cheeky here, by the way.)

  6. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 12/16/2009 - 04:29 pm.

    Let me offer an answer to my own question as to why local news would never compete on quality:

    1) Local news makes money as it is. That is its reason for being. Any change might jeopardize those profits, even if they are dropping.

    2) Institutionally it would be risky (employment wise) for a news director to change the format employed by almost every local news operation in the country.

    3) The current format is NOT driven by news. Watch for any half-hour. How much is really news? The format is driven by the commercial interests of the owners. The “news” is not really journalism as we understand it; it is an artificially created “selling environment,” that cannot be upset either for the viewers or the advertisers.

    4) TV newscasters and reporters, for the most part, wouldn’t know how to report, nor, for that matter, where to look for real news. Of course there are exceptions – more than a few. But look deep and most people running TV news are deeply cynical, and they preside over reporters who are overwhelming young and inexperienced. In a nutshell, these news operations are professionally incapable of being real journalistic operations.

    So even though theoretically one station could get a bigger audience by really being a “newscast,” it might also be both a headache and a money loser for the owners, and, in any event, they would have to get new, more expensive, editors and reporters.

  7. Submitted by Mike Beard on 12/16/2009 - 08:00 pm.

    I think Twin Cities news stands tall compared with other parts of the country. I wouldn’t tinker at all with anything we have going on here because it is consistently better content-wise and in its delivery. Watch Superstation WGN Chicago news once and you’ll appreciate the locals.

  8. Submitted by Jason DeRusha on 12/16/2009 - 10:20 pm.

    The hard thing when people ask for more quality news, is articulating exactly what they mean by that.

    Do you want more coverage of the St. Paul City Council? Our viewers in Plymouth don’t care about that.

    Maybe more about crime trends in Minneapolis? Burnsville isn’t interested.

    How about more government reporting? Every station in the Twin Cities has a full time presence at the state capitol. You won’t find that at any market of our size or larger.

    More national news? I do think we could do a better job of putting national stories in a local context.

    One of the challenges of covering television news in this market is the way the population is spread out. When I worked in Milwaukee, most of our viewing audience lived in the city. Here, the population is so spread out, it’s very difficult selecting stories that will be of interest to that wide geographical area.

    As to the main topic of David’s post — I do think it would be quite interesting to launch a visibly partisan newscast. 45 would be a logical place to do it. Judging from the comments on this site, and the e-mail I get, there’s a large percentage of the public that is interested in seeing their own opinions reinforced. If a political framework can be reinforced by using good reporting and unearthing good information, I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world. (not that I’d be signing up to do it, of course!)

  9. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 12/17/2009 - 06:33 am.

    I thought local news was partisan. Personally, I always try to listen to channel 5 to get the latest version of GOP talking points.

  10. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/17/2009 - 09:51 am.

    Jason,

    Please, you guys will park someone outside Orono’s City Hall in the dark to report “live” on a school vote that took place three hours previously… so don’t tell us you don’t cover local government because they won’t be interested in Burnsville. An interesting story is an interesting story regardless of geography. Why would I care about a cougar in Stillwater? I’m in St. Louis Park. C’mon don’t be silly. As for all the other news you don’t cover, national, government, whatever, it’s very simple, you don’t have enough time. Near as I can tell yo guys have about seven minutes for actual news in every half hour 10:00 newscast. Once your done with weather, sports, and banal parenting advice you just don’t have time for news. And if you don’t have the time to air it, why would you put the resources into developing it? By the way, why do you people think something is more interesting if it’s done by a “mom”? Someone should tell someone that “moms” are just people like everyone else.

    Getting back to the partisan issue, I’m afraid the problem is far more superficial. Partisanship isn’t necessarily the ratings getter, it’s doesn’t have to be partisan, just provocative. Real news covered in an interesting way is provocative, just covering a story will provoke accusations of partisanship even if it’s not. I think local TV news is afraid of being provocative because it may alienate advertisers. Stations pretend to cover provocative stories but they’re really just alarmist or salacious, nothing that really threatens the status quo.

    I’m not interested in partisan news, I just want accurate news. If the Governor is lying about something I want to be told he’s lying about something, whether he’s a Democrat or Republican. The fear of appearing bias frequently precludes in depth coverage in this country. I don’t care about bias, as long as report is accurate. The problem with O’Reilly isn’t his bias, it’s his lies. Give me an O’Reilly that tells the truth and I have no problem.

  11. Submitted by Jason DeRusha on 12/17/2009 - 10:07 am.

    You’re right paul: interesting stories are interesting regardless of geography. That’s why you get news of the weird from all over the place. And that’s not what the people clamoring for more “quality” are asking for.

    If the St. Paul City Council does something crazy, it’ll be covered.

    I’m asking the people who want more quality to articulate what they would like to see covered. What topics would they tune in on a nightly basis to see talked about?

    Perhaps banal parenting stories aren’t of interest to you — but in an age where most viewers have the headlines from the internet — parenting topics are something that people DON’T get online.

    OK, back to my story on whether lawmakers read the bills before they vote on them. Quality from me, tonight at ten.

  12. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/17/2009 - 10:17 am.

    There’s another thing that some of you news guys may be able to address. Back in the early 90s I read a piece explaining why all the local news stations look the same all over the country, it’s basically the same template, and if you travel you know what I’m talking about. At the time, the reason was that everyone was getting their advice from a consulting firm, I think it was located in Iowa. The consultants were telling stations that the template was geared around traveling business men, the idea was that no matter where they were in the country, if a traveling business man turns on the news, what he sees should be familiar. This was how they developed the template. So why isn’t anyone talking about the role that these consultants play in the look and programing of local news? How independent are news directors really?

    At any rate, the template has become a trap. On one hand, it demands banality. On the other hand, banality drives ratings down. Local news is supposed to be a revenue generator, but they need advertisers for that, and that means they need ratings. But the banality is driving the ratings down which in turn will drive advertisers away. It’s a circular spiral down driven by mediocrity.

  13. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/17/2009 - 10:46 am.

    Jason,

    You’re confusing news with entertainment. News of the weird is not news, although it may be entertaining. I’m asking for interesting news, or actual news. If you interpret that as a request for more news of the weird I’m afraid we’re at an impasse.

    No parenting info in the internet? you’re joking right?

    Look, on one hand your telling me you know what people want to see, and it isn’t what I want to see because “interesting” is in the eye of the beholder. Then you ask me what people want to see. You can’t have it both ways. You’re viewers are declining, that’s a fact. If you’re not interested in an honest examination I can’t help you. (not you personally but the media in general). I’ve had this exact same conversation a hundred times over the last 30 years or so, and it always goes this way. The media asks what it can do, and then explains why it can’t do anything different than what it’s doing. It never goes beyond the pretense of self examination.

    As for specific recommendations, I can send you two story ideas a week for one month, free of charge. Here’s the first one, a good question: “why do local news stations put reporters live in the dark when there’s nothing to see and the event their covering happened hours or even days ago?”

    Let me know if you (or anyone else) wants more. Give me your e-mail (I’m easy to find if you google me) and I’ll send you two a week for one month. By the way, “google” is also a good way to find parenting advice.

  14. Submitted by Jason DeRusha on 12/17/2009 - 10:58 am.

    The consultants have lost power as station groups hire their own in-house consultants. Much like most newspapers have a similar layout, the TV formula has been so ingrained, there’s little desire to tinker with it.

    CBS in Chicago tried an all-hard news, serious approach several years ago, and it bombed in the ratings. TV is true broadcasting: appealing to the educated, the less-educated, the rich, the poor, and the formula of news-weather-sports-and goodbye seems to be an effective way of communicating to all of those people.

    But one person’s dumb story is another person’s definition of news.

    You’ll probably see more stations go to single-anchor formats in the near future (to save money), and many will cut out local sports coverage (real sports fans get it elsewhere).

    A brief example: We flip-flopped weather and Good Question in our 10pm news a month ago, pushing my story about 5 minutes later in the newscast, and viewers freaked out. We saw dips in viewership even. We flipped it back to the way it was, and everything went back to normal.

  15. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/17/2009 - 12:02 pm.

    You don’t have to be “serious” to do news, John Stewart has demonstrated that. I’m not saying you can turn it into a comedy skit but let’s face it, anchors aren’t journalists, they’re presenters. The first anchors in the Twin Cities were actors, Old Log alumni. So find some people who can present in an interesting way that makes people want to watch. NOTE: simply being a parent doesn’t qualify.

    I think weather people should make fun of themselves for instance. Stop pretending their scientists and admit they guessing, they have a lot of toys but they’re guessing. I think a little self deprecation would play well, and not the “people are mad at me” variety just the “I blew it again” variety. There’s too much meaningless data in weather forcasts, like anyone really knows the temperature in Edina is three degrees cooler than Golden Valley. Stop treating snow storms like their come kind of natural disaster.

    And why cut back on just the local sports? Every day they send reporters and photographers out to team press conferences, despite the fact that those guys have absolutely nothing to say. Stop that, better yet, make fun of the stuff those guys say, it’s funny… “well we needed to put more points on the board and we didn’t get it done”. It’s hilarious.

    I don’t like to fire people but I’d get rid of your consultants. Then I’d get rid of all but one or two of those satellite trucks and bring reporters back to the station. You can dump all that fancy weather equipment as well, your forcasts are the same as the weather services anyways so you can use their stuff, or Paul Douglas’s new gig. Retask all those people to go out and find news. And no, you don’t need two people to present the news, but find a way to retask instead of let go.

    I don’t know what you mean by serious but it doesn’t all have to be serious, just informative and interesting. And stuff that people really ought to know about their community, government, whatever. I don’t need to know for instance about the 17 year old that just got killed in a car accident in Hinckly for instance. That’s a personal tragedy in someone else’s family, and it’s depressing. Likewise personal medical tragedies are way over played. There is stuff out there that is interesting, publicly relevant, and compelling. Some of it’s really serious and some of it isn’t. Either way, it is possible to present serious news without bumming everyone out, and keep communities informed without deluging everyone with banality.

  16. Submitted by Pat Backen on 12/17/2009 - 12:42 pm.

    Jason’s point about broadcasting is very good – just in my house, we can’t agree on what should be on the news.

    That’s two adults who chose to spend the rest of their lives together and (theoretically at least) have some common interests. Now add my neighbors – one side a single guy, the other side a couple and their post high school daughter, across the alley a young newly married couple – and try and meet everybody’s idea of news (much less quality news) and you’re already in the weeds.

    I think the news junkies have all found different avenues to get their fix. I know I haven’t watched a local newscast in years, primarily because of all the drivel served up that I don’t consider news (but my wife loves).

  17. Submitted by Colin Lee on 12/17/2009 - 03:48 pm.

    Given that this is Minnesota, I think that a local broadcast news station has more room for a Jesse Ventura than a Bill O’Reilly. The bases of both main Minnesota parties have major complaints with their own team and would applaud an even-handed thrashing that our anchors are paid not to deliver. It’d be something like Fact Check pieces without the limp-wristed and obsequious adjectives. Americans seem tired of the journalistic myth that there are two equally valid opinions to every political story. Our state government has no choir of angels on either side of the aisle.

  18. Submitted by William Souder on 12/17/2009 - 05:08 pm.

    David…caught you on KFAN this afternoon and was stunned that you agreed with Ron Rosenbaum’s stupid assertion that “there is no such thing as objective journalism.” The daily newspaper is 90 percent or more pure, straightforward, objective journalism…unbambiguous stories about car crashes, court trials, sporting events, burglaries, nuptials, obits, school board meetings, business mergers…on and on, day in and day out, a digest of events reported and written without bias or agenda. Straight reporting is the bedrock of journalism, the first thing anybody trying to be a reporter has to learn how to do. It is abundant.

    Also…anybody who’s watched the three-hour-long “Morning Joe” program on MSNBC would not say that network is uniformly left-of-center.

  19. Submitted by David Brauer on 12/17/2009 - 06:03 pm.

    Sorry, Bill – there’s fairness and integrity and then there’s objectivity. I believe in the former; the latter is a useful myth, one journalists use to convince the public they are closer to God.

    Of course, unobjective doesn’t have to mean ideological. The choice of stories, the volume on a topic, how “far” you can go to speak what you see as the truth (as you know from your time in alt- and advocacy journalism), a preoccupation with balance when it’s not necessarily deserved … are all influenced by fallible humans.

    It’s true the ideology/bias/worldview need not infect everything in the morning paper (or website or TV newscast, etc.) And sure, some stories are more easily told “straight.” But I think we do more damage overestimating than underestimating that. Thus my personal opinion.

    I’m not sure if you heard the entire hour, but one point I made to Rosenbaum is that we need true diversity in reporting and storytelling. I, for one, am glad there are organizations that *aspire* to objectivity, but I’m glad they’re not a monopoly. For all the sins visited upon journalism by the Internet, there is also a lot of great content being produced by the unobjective … much of which (rightly and wrongly) makes its way to objectivity-aspiring outlets.

    As for MSNBC, yeah, I hear the Morning Joe thing a lot, but c’mon – it’s false balance (false objectivity?) to say that network is not left-of-center. I don’t believe I ever used the word “uniformly.”

  20. Submitted by William Souder on 12/17/2009 - 08:30 pm.

    What a strange response! Objectivity is not a myth…nor is it a Greek statue or a mathematical construct. It’s a goal. A story needn’t be perfect to be objective. I agree, of course, that every human decision is potentially flawed, consciously or otherwise, and that the myriad decisions that go into deciding what is news, which news to cover, how much space to give it, who’s to write it, who’s to edit it…the whole business…is only as a good as humans can make it.

    But if we simply mean by objective that we can strive to let the facts speak for themselves without interpretation or interference…then I think that’s not only possible, it’s in fact the norm for most of what we call news. And to believe that is in no way a disparagement of any non-journalist who doesn’t apply the same standard at every juncture in ordinary daily life.

    If we want to talk about myths, I say let’s start with the virulent notion that the mainstream media is so hopelessly corrupted with bias and hidden agendas that you cannot believe anything you read, hear, or see.

  21. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/17/2009 - 11:28 pm.

    William,

    All facts are the product of subjective observation and perception which require interpretation. Even in quantum physics Heisenberg pointed out that the mere act of observing a phenomena can change it. In other words bias, journalistic or otherwise, cannot be eliminated, it can only be controlled for. As Mr. Brauer points out, so called unbiased reporting is a style of presentation, not an existential reality.

    Facts are meaningless without context and interpretation. The idea that a journalist or anyone else can simply provide facts independent of perception or interpretation which can then simply be absorbed without further perception or interpretation is a common but fundamentally flawed belief. This doesn’t mean that truth and reality cannot be known, but it does mean that the extent that we understand reality depends on out interpretation of facts, not merely the presentation of facts.

    Try this: 5 years old, Ole, living room, couch, strawberry blond. Those are all facts, what do they tell you? A reporter cannot just provide facts, they have to provide context, and that inevitably introduces bias. So I can tell you that my five year old strawberry blond dog named ole is sleeping on my living room couch right now, but I cannot do even that without introducing bias. There are all kinds of other facts I’m leaving out that may or may not provide a clearer picture for instance. The simple act of selecting which facts to present is an act of bias.

  22. Submitted by William Souder on 12/18/2009 - 09:05 am.

    Paul:

    For a second there, I thought you were going to make an actual point. Fortunately, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal rarely comes up in deciding how to report a story. If you want to argue that observation always involves bias and that absolute truth is therefore unknowable absolutely…be my guest. But do it in rhetoric class or go climb a mountain in search of a guru who would rather contemplate reality than deal with it.

    Objectivity in reporting, to repeat, is not an unachievable abstraction. It’s a set of principled goals for representing the world in as balanced and neutral a way as can be managed. The news isn’t perfect and neither are the people who report it. But because reporters mostly try to get it right, they mostly succeed on those terms.

  23. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/19/2009 - 11:15 am.

    //If you want to argue that observation always involves bias and that absolute truth is therefore unknowable

    If your going to argue with someone William, you need to read what they actually say. I said:

    //This doesn’t mean that truth and reality cannot be known, but it does mean that the extent that we understand reality depends on out interpretation of facts, not merely the presentation of facts.

  24. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/19/2009 - 11:16 am.

    William,

    Thanks for proving my point about interpretation by the way.

  25. Submitted by Lloyd G Wright on 12/19/2009 - 02:07 pm.

    David,

    Thanks for your work on this important distinction between local and other news entities.

    I’ve got another perspective having grown up in local news reporting/management and then moving over to station management for network affiliates in Oklahoma and Colorado.

    I am not telling you anything you don’t know when I say local news is broadcast today as a tool. You are right it is very profitable. Local news is effectively, a conduit by which to blow fast food, furniture and new car advertising through.

    I’ve been a part of this transition and remember like yesterday, when the little light went off over the GM’s head in Tulsa saying, “Damn, if i can embrace these trouble makers down here in the news department and do more of this shit, I can make a ton a money and not have to worry as much about my poor syndicated programming decisions (which have been mostly deplorable).

    The good news is, more of us grew up in the local news business and stayed, compared to those in the national arena So most of us cannot comprehend executing a story on the air without both sides. It’s offensive to even contemplate.

    So local still has that work ethic even though most of the few independently owned stations today operate them like a personal bully pulpit and cater to their friends ideals. That’s a trip, I worked for one of these and it’s the closest I’ve come to wanting to hurt somebody real badly.

    This key component (faint remembrance of the Fairness Doctrine), and the fact that there are still a lot of us old timers out their teaching young people traditional journalistic principles, that local news hasn’t spun off into the dark side of screaming, lying and opining for entertainment’s sake.

    Of course credible local news is the currency with which that station creates its relationship with the city it serves. “Serves”, that’s the operative term isn’t it (lost but not forgotten). The best local stations are more partners with the city than an information/entertainment utility. Local news is the single component that identifies this relationship and in the end, drives its profitability.

    During the dank years of CBS, we couldn’t buy a lead in at ten, but our local news credibility kept us on top. The dream of every news director is to listen intently for the clicking music of channels changing from them to us at ten.

    Thank God for all these little intricacies that have kept the locals from being swallowed up by the sparseness of cable neer-do-wells.

    Think for a minute of the economic future of this cable strategy. Its exclusive purpose
    is to preach to the choir. No one is going to change their political point of view from the discourse. Depending on personal perspective, one simply vegetates in one place and consumes a diet designed to make them full and fat, and does not inspire them to look further.

    Sounds to me like very few (as you point out in your piece), are going no where fast.

  26. Submitted by Michael Burke on 12/20/2009 - 09:12 am.

    so here’s what happened to me – i like the personalities & chemistry on KARE11, but they bend right, quite a bit sometimes, so i’ve started skipping their storytelling & lack of biased coverage in favor of scanning BBC online to get real news.

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