A news sense is really a sense of what is important, what is vital, what has color and life – what people are interested in. That’s journalism.
Arthur Burton Rascoe, American Journalist
I’m sitting in a food court in downtown Atlanta on break from the Social Media Today Social Shake-Up Conference. It’s a collection of multimedia thought leaders, brand managers, CEOs, social media junkies and digital dorks. (I say with great affection!)
I’m here because like many, I’m going through a transition. I have been a television journalist for years working in local newsrooms across the country and most recently CNN. I love and believe in journalism. I love being an advocate for those who don’t have a voice or platform. I love telling stories.
Social media is a game changer for the Fourth Estate. With Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, You Tube, Vine and whatever comes next the people have a platform. They have a voice…and they control it. When news breaks, citizen journalists are posting video and eyewitness accounts before news managers can even deploy their crews. Information is a currency no longer reserved for the traditional media.The need for traditional broadcast news is waning. Ratings are down and just this week Gallup released information showing mistrust is at an all-time low when it comes to mass media.
“Journalism” is trying to figure out its next evolution. So am I. The questions I often consider:
- Is there really less interest in news or is lack of interest format-related?
- Is there still a thirst for trusted, credible news organizations?
- Are we telling the wrong stories?
That brings us to this week’s academic exercise on surveys. I created a survey to examine the habits of news consumers, specifically local news consumers: Survey of Local News Consumer Habits
Using a snowball sample, my objectives are to:
- Gauge interest in local news
- Understand how people are consuming news and what their sources are
- Analyze social media’s role in local news
- Understand why people think local news is important or irrelevant
I am hoping to gain insight into whether it is the content or the medium that is affecting low news viewership on television. I started with a screening question to keep data focused solely on those who do consume local news. I included open-ended questions and comment fields in certain locations to learn where people are getting their news from. I also wanted to allow space for direct commentary on the value or lack of value in local television news. Analysis of my findings will be posted next week. To be continued…