What Will 2012 Bring For Local Television?

By Merrill Knox Comment

In the waning days of 2011, Neiman Journalism Lab’s Carrie Brown Smith takes a look at what the news industry has in store for 2012. Among her predictions is that with political ad spending on the rise, and with stations increasingly mastering social media, the next 12 months will be a good ones for local news:

As some metropolitan daily newspapers continue to slash their already drastically-reduced staffs, they no longer have quite as commanding of an edge in reporting muscle over their broadcast counterparts. In addition to the election-year advertising boon, local television, with its recognizable personalities, also has a clear opportunity in the digital space … Broadcast reporters in our market have already generally been more proactive in their use of social media to share stories and interact with the audience, and the door is now open for them to increase the public’s reliance on them for [free!] news and information. Of course, given the documented propensity of local television news to focus on crime over matters of local substance; this is not necessarily a good thing from the perspective of quality journalism, but it may be inevitable nevertheless.  Even serious news junkies like journalism professors (ahem) find themselves turning more often to the sources that appear in their social streams and don’t require a credit card to access.