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Local television newscasts become more popular as other media sinks in ratings

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While other news media are fading in popularity, local television news programming is gaining popularity across the country.

Newspaper staffs have been gutted and cable and network news have been staggering but local news is hiring more people and is becoming more popular than ever, according to Lesley Van Ness, Director of Talent Acquisition at Gray Television.

Gray television currently owns 113 local television stations across the country including WOIO Television in Cleveland, OH.

Ian Rubin, TV and Digital News Director at WOIO, says audiences are demanding more out of local television news than in the past. They want faster news that is multi-platformed and available on mobile devices in an instant.

The assertions of Van Ness and Rubin are supported by the latest findings by the Pew Research Center. Local television stations in 2020 dedicated 6.2 hours of local news coverage in a day, according to Pew. This was an increase from 2019.

Staffing for local television news operations also have increased while we’ve seen the numbers for newspapers plummet, says Pew.

However, reporters for local stations now must have a greater mix of skills than in the past, says Van Ness. They must be technologically sound as well as journalistically savvy.

New hires need to know how to tell stories in multiple ways on a variety of different delivery platforms, says Rubin.

He also adds that if a young journalist also is fluent in Spanish that it is a real plus in the marketplace.