Local News — Not!

It probably won’t come as a surprise to you, but local news in Southern California is pretty much devoid of … well, news. Now, a recent study out of the Annenberg School of Communication at USC looks at 11,000 news stories and quantifies how devoid it is. Average nightly coverage of local government: 22 seconds in every 30 minutes. Yup. Twenty two seconds. Yet 68% of Americans say they get the majority of their news (whatever that is) from local TV.

Unlike the Internet, the airwaves are limited. Only a certain number of stations can broadcast, and they get licensed to do so by the federal government. That spectrum is worth big money, but the stations, once licensed, pay nothing. How hard is it to renew a license? You submit one postcard every eight years. Heck, it takes more effort to renew a driver’s license.

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps was interviewed on KPCC about this last week (listen to it here, or read his brief press release here). According to Copps, “twenty-seven states, over half of the states in this country, do not have an accredited reporter on Capitol Hill.” Wow. I’ve long been impressed by Copps. He’s a smart, unflappable public servant who does his homework and gets it.

Warren Olny interviewed Martin Kaplan, the co-author of the USC study, on his “Which Way LA?” radio show, yesterday. You can listen to the show here. (The interview begins at the half-way mark.) Olny offers some of the best local coverage around.

No citizen knowledge = no citizen involvement. And when nobody’s watching, mischief happens.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Media and Society

One Comment on “Local News — Not!”


  1. […] a fun fact about my new home, and local news in general: 22 seconds of the 11 o’clock News here in LA is on local government, the rest is about out of state dog […]


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