Newscast repetition higher than thought?

The Kovsky Miller Media Research firm just released data on the amount of story and topic repetition in newscasts. It may or may not be a surprise to you just how much of the content is rehash.

For the years 2004-2008, the fim looked at more than “2,500 half hours of news and 21,000 stories. Stories were designated as repeat if they were judged as containing no new or additional information in relation to what was reported the first time.”

Looking at newscasts as a whole 47% of local stories get repeated.  Here’s a look at the info broken down by the most important dayparts:

Morning news                    56.7%
Early evening                    30.7%
Prime/late news               46.9%

The researchers also provided some interesting data on the most common types of local stories in the news.  (Another factor contributing to the feel of repetition is similarity of subject matter.)

Crime

51.7%

Education

51.7%

Accident

49.8%

Business/economy

48.2%

Fire coverage

44.2%

Transportation

43.8%

It’s doubtful that the high percentage of crime stories is a shock to many,  but what about the amount of education, business and transportation coverage?  Those percentages are a bit heartening, though the amount of repetition on local news is clearly an issue.  The researchers suggest the repetition may be a particular problem for late newscasts – a time slot that’s vulnerable to people just wanting to go to bed!

In another recent post, we noted a potential trend for stations to drop syndicated programming, filling the time period with newscasts instead.  The amount of repetition is likely to get much worse if there’s no increase in staff to produce content for those shows.

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