In a recent study from the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation (RTNDF), a total of 65.5 percent of Americans named local TV news, compared with 28.4 percent who named local newspapers and 28.3 percent who named national network TV news, as one of their top three sources of news. The Internet was one of the top three choices for 11.2 percent of those who responded to the group’s “Future of News” survey.
Viewers perceive that businesses and advertisers have influence on TV news, the survey found. Those in higher income groups, the better educated, younger people and men feel most strongly about the importance of maintaining a clear separation between advertisers and news programming.
More than 90 percent said it was very important or somewhat important for news to be up to the minute. The public was most interested in urgent, breaking news, but some had reservations about the mislabeling of news that was neither urgent nor breaking.
Viewers want to be able to watch news when it is convenient for them. They also desire more interactivity with TV news. More than 40 percent of the public would like the ability to assemble their own newscasts. More than 60 percent would like to be able to push a button and get more information on screen about what they are watching.
The study was commissioned by RTNDF, conducted by Bob Papper, professor of telecommunications at Ball State University, and sponsored by the Ford Foundation.
For complete survey results, visit www.rtnda.org.