Phillip Stutts & Company, Inc.
Newsworthy or not: Why confidence in American TV news is at an all-time low

Post written by Brian Jodice, Vice President of Media Strategies at Phillip Stutts & Company, Inc

As a former member of the local newsroom I always keep an eye open for trends within the TV business. 

A recent Gallup poll has some interesting numbers that might make news directors around the country drink another cup of coffee, smoke a cigarette, and pull out whatever remaining hair they have left.  You can read this article if you’d like but the long and short is, Americans are not that confident in TV news anymore.

The standout number in the poll is that, “only 21% of adults polled expressed a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in TV news.”  Not exactly a ringing endorsement. 

Stations all over the country, and that includes the big national outlets and the smaller local affiliates, need to pay attention to this.

These numbers show that people don’t trust the news, and on the heels of the Supreme Court snafu made by a few major affiliates (who will remain nameless) - can you really blame them?  In this 24-hour news cycle, full of on-screen tweets and what appears to be more TMZ than CNN, it seems that the pressure to be first forces the facts to be left behind.

My take-away from this article is the TV news business needs to wake up.  If it thinks it can skate by on salacious breaking news and expect viewers to tune in forever, it is sadly mistaken.  People don’t have to get home after work to watch the 6:00 p.m. news, or stay up to watch the 11:00 p.m. news, they can jump online and get the information in about two clicks. 

There are solutions, aside from obvious - being better than the other guy.  They should consider the way the world works in an on-demand world. Why should TV news stations wait for the evening newscast when they can shoot a story, edit and post it right away? 

In this ever changing, always updating world of TV news, get your story to your audience when they want it.  Do your homework and report the news, timely and accurately. 

Simple stuff right? I’m more than 21% confident it would work.