Local TV news is horrible. In many ways it always has been, but we all know it’s pretty worthless at this point. The presenting is laughable, the reporting is ridiculously over-hyped and production is stuck in the past. It always feels so corny and unpassionate. We all know the internet has been hard for traditional media to accept and figure out, but local TV is really between a rock and a hard place.
The double-edged sword of local news
National news stories can be found anywhere and everywhere, so there’s no real need for local news to report on it with any more than a 30-second blurb. News of that nature is a commodity, so that leaves local news stories. “Hyperlocal” is the unicorn of local news outlets but here’s the problem with local news – it sucks.
People say they want more local news but 90% of local news is boring and uninteresting because most towns don’t have much going on in the way of interesting scandals, business or otherwise. Not to mention when you go hyperlocal you’re excluding everyone that doesn’t live there (like me) and those people don’t give two shits about a school that leaves the A/C on in the summer.
So viewers don’t want national news and they don’t want local news, so what’s left? And therein lies the problem.
We’ve all heard the term “slow news day” so what happens when that’s everyday? Your business is based on telling people stories but 9 out of 10 of those stories are uninteresting to 90% of viewers. What’s left to do besides hype of crappy stories and scare people into feeling threatened, unhealthy or under attack? I’m not saying news media is right in exaggerating things like they do but I also understand that their business has changed and they just don’t know what to do.
The solution is simple, they just need to quit being such a cliche. The problem is that’s not a solution that’s easy to plan, execute or sell, and I don’t have any answers for that…but the TV station that figures it out will win and be rewarded. All I know is that watching local news (or reading it online) is absolutely painful and I’m really tired of hearing about the struggles of old media when they refuse to change. Quit being desperate and lazy.