TV Still Tops for News

NEW YORK Despite the proliferation of choices, more Americans still turn to local TV news as their top choice over all other media, according to a survey conducted for the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation.

When asked for their top three news sources, 65.5 percent named local TV as the major source, followed by local newspapers (28.5 percent), national network TV (28 percent), local radio news (14.5 percent), the Internet (11 percent) and national newspapers (4 percent).

The study was conducted by Bob Papper, a professor at Ball State University, and sponsored by the Ford Foundation. More than 1,000 people age 18 and older participated in the telephone-based survey in April and May of this year.

In the future, however, local TV news will have to introduce multiple platforms in order to meet the needs expressed by the respondents. Almost 75 percent of the young adults surveyed said it was very or somewhat important to be able to watch TV news when they want.

Even so, new distribution platforms remain somewhat slow to catch on. For example, nearly 75 percent of all respondents said they have never read a blog. Less than 5 percent have ever watched news or information on a small screen, such as a mobile phone; in fact, only 10 percent said they have any interest in it. Given a choice, more than three-quarters said they’d rather watch news on TV than on a computer of handheld electronic device. For those that have the choice, 60 percent chose traditional TV.

By far, the No.1 suggestion respondents cited to make TV better was to show fewer commercials.