With shorter stories and scarce coverage of politics and government, local television newscasts in the United States, like local newspapers before them, are suffering from “shrinking pains,” according to the Pew Research Center.
The diagnosis comes in the center’s 10th annual State of the News Media report, which will be published on Monday. The New York Times reports that “the report, covering 2012, describes cutbacks in the reporting ranks of newspapers and television networks and a surge in efforts by politicians, corporations and others to tell their own stories.
“This adds up to a news industry that is more undermanned and unprepared to uncover stories, dig deep into emerging ones or to question information put into its hands,” the report’s main author, Amy Mitchell, wrote in an introduction.
“The report also highlighted the results of a new Pew survey that asked Americans whether they had heard much about the financial challenges that the news industry faces, like the steep decline in newspaper advertising revenue.
“Sixty percent of the respondents said they had heard little or nothing, indicating that “awareness of the industry’s financial struggles is limited,” the report said. But some have sensed the results: 31 percent of respondents said they “have stopped turning to a news outlet because it no longer provided them with the news they were accustomed to getting.”
“The report’s authors did find, as in prior years, a robust public appetite for news. Digital news sources are now used daily by 50 percent of Americans, according to Pew’s survey, making the Internet nearly as important a source as television. Mobile phones and tablets were mostly responsible for the surge in digital news consumption.Computers and mobile phones, of course, redistribute news from television, radio and newspapers. But cutbacks at many of these traditional sources continued in 2012, Pew found.”