Friday, August 3, 2007

Chicago TV news: good news, bad news

Chicago TV newscast viewers think the shows adequately inform them, but do little to distinguish themselves from each other and do even less to show people who reflect that diverse market, according to a new study from Medill at Northwestern University.

More than 60% of TV-news viewers think they're "made smarter" by Chicago newscasts, which give audiences a "positive emotional" experience (according to more than 60%, again).

Further, most TV-news viewers think local TV is "substantially more trusted" than newspapers.

However, none of the five stations (WBBM/CBS, WFLD/Fox, WGN/CW, WLS/ABC and WMAQ/NBC) devote even half of their newscasts to actual news or features, the study found, and all would benefit from more diversity in the people it shows.

Chicago's TV market is 66% white and 18% African-American, and approximately 50-50 male and female. However, 75% of faces and voices featured are white and 69% male.

Of course, the study is incomplete, if not flawed, because it doesn't reflect attitudes toward the stations by non-viewiers, nor TV viewers who tune elsewhere at times when newscasts are on.

Michael Malone's summary of the study from Broadcasting & Cable is here --

A pdf copy of the study itself is available here --