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Forum First Takes: Local TV News

Got more to say about the value and potential of local TV news?

The forum remains open. For some starter background, read this interview with Mark Platte, news director of Hawaii News Now, and this interview with Josh Stearns and Libby Reinish of Free Press/Change the Channels campaign.

Last week we asked you: What is the value of local TV news? How can communities up their yield and maximize return from this powerful and well branded medium? What are the risks of major changes like station consolidation or pay-for-play ads? What innovations in local television news hold the most promise?

Passion was clearly present as the forum kicked off over the past week. Bringing together a broad mix of voices, an active exchange of ideas, and an appreciation for each other’s points of view, we hope this conversation has broadened the frame and enriched the discussion across journalism communities.

The forum will stay open for more discussion. Because you connect using your Facebook, Google, LinkedIn or Twitter account in order to comment, participants in the conversation are identified by their real identities and it is far more difficult for spammers or anonymous trolls to detract from an effective discussion.

Meanwhile, here are my initial observations of this experiment. Please add yours!

  • People with a wide range of perspectives are thinking a lot about TV as an information source for local communities. There is great potential in the medium, and its online brands, including significant influence to connect or exclude different segments of one community.
  • The number of journalists and time they have to develop stories affects TV news program content significantly. A close tracking of staff decisions after consolidation and in an election year (with election ad income) would be a great resource to have. So might a tool to help “ordinary citizens” interested in local TV news assess what they’re getting.
  • Many people would benefit from understanding collaborative experiments between online investigative sites and local TV, like The Lens New Orleans.
  • Creative thinking is happening around different financial setups for local TV, but there are few, if any, new models to mimic. The changing advertising market is affecting public TV as well as commercial.

So what did we learn? Next Over the next few weeks we’ll offer a series of posts covering themes, connections, outlook, and behind-the-scenes logistics. Part of our mission, or promise to our community, is to share with you how we do what we do, adding practical knowledge to the cumulative braintrust of media in transition. Check back for more with posts soon. going live Wednesday, Thursday and Friday next week.

Value of TV News forum comment Libby Reinish and Steven Waldman

What is the value of local TV news excerpt. See the full conversation in the forum here.