March 25, 2013

The next time you see a local reporter covering one of your events, hug them. They are members of a disappearing breed.

According to the Pew Research Center, local television newscasts, like local newspapers, are suffering from “shrinking pains.” This comes from Pew’s 10th annual State of the News Media report, which describes cutbacks in the reporting ranks 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,” states the report’s main author Amy Mitchell.

Pew studied four markets (Bend, Houston; Milwaukee; and Pittsburgh) and compared their findings with a similar study of three of the markets in 2005. Back then, there were more taped stories and interviews; now there are more live reports from reporters in the field. The report called this a sign that “there is less in-depth journalism being produced.” As for newspapers, Pew followed up on a prediction in last year’s report that more newspapers would require you to pay for full access to their websites. Newspapers doing so have more than doubled since last year.

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