TV News Staffing Way Up, More Hiring Expected

By Andrew Gauthier 

Here’s some good news: TV news employment is soaring.

According to the annual RTDNA-Hofstra University survey on the state of TV news staffing and profitably, TV news employment is up to the second highest level ever and more hiring is expected over the next year.

The survey found that TV news added 1,131 jobs in 2011 to reach a total full-time employment tally of 27,653, representing a 4.3% gain over the previous year.  (The highest level of TV news staffing occurred in 2000).

42.9% of stations reported that they increased staff in 2011 and 46.2% said that staff size stayed the same.  Fox-affiliates were more likely than any other group to increase staff size, and stations in the South were more likely to have added employees than stations in other regions.

There’s more hiring on the horizon, too: 36.7% of news directors polled said that they expected to increase the size of their staffs over the next year.

“News directors can be a surprisingly optimistic lot,” RTDNA and Hofstra researcher Bob Papper points out, “but last year’s survey projections on hiring turned out to be dead on what took place in the following year.”

TV news profitability is also on the rise.

In 2012, 59.6% of news stations showed a profit–that’s the highest level it’s been since 1998.  Markets 51-100 showed the most profit in 2012, with 68.2% of those stations turning a profit, compared to 54.7% in markets 1-25.

As well, Papper found that there are now 725 TV stations originating local news.  Those stations air their news on an additional 242 stations, meaning that there are a total of 967 stations across the country running local news.

Here’s part 1 of the survey results…