Hearst Study Finds Local Television Was Primary Source of News During Hurricane Irene

By Merrill Knox 

Local television was the favored source for information during August’s Hurricane Irene, according to a Hearst Television study.

Hearst surveyed 1,400 people in three markets — Baltimore, Boston and Burlington-Plattsburgh — that were located in Irene’s direct path. During and after the storm, 54 percent of respondents said that local news was their key source of information — compared to 11 percent from the Internet, 10 percent from The Weather Channel and 8 percent from cable news.

In addition, before the storm, 39 percent of respondents said they learned of Irene’s approach from their local television stations, compared to 16 percent from the Internet, 11 percent from friends and relatives and 10 percent from the Weather Channel.


The findings in the Hearst study are consistent with a recent examination of Rentrak data, which showed audience spikes as high as 66 percent for local stations during Hurricane Irene.