Friday, April 28, 2017

How Much News is on the News: A Guns & Bunnies Web Extra

Posted By on Fri, Apr 28, 2017 at 1:52 PM

This week's cover story measuring violence and fluff on local TV news has generated a lot of questions. One more frequently asked: How many news stories make it into the evening broadcast, and how much time is allotted to each story?

This may not be a perfect answer, but it should at least point curious folks in the right direction.

I went back to the Flyer staff's original viewing diaries but only looked at Tuesday night's broadcast. Every night is a little different, obviously, so one night isn't a good data sample. Still, the formula is more or less the same broadcast to broadcast, so Tuesday, being a fairly normal news night, provides a reasonable snapshot.

Not counting weather, sports, and headline teasers, Memphis stations averaged 18 news stories on Tuesday night.  If all of Memphis stations were rolled into one big happy news team 42-percent — or 13-minutes —of their roughly half-hour weeknight (10 p.m.) broadcasts would be devoted to news content.

How much time was devoted to each story? I suppose I could go back and count it all up, but don't really see the point. 18 stories in 13-minutes? obviously not very much. A casual, anecdotal observation: There was more time burned hanging around in neighborhoods fishing for comments about children left home alone (and unharmed) than, say, comparing Memphis parking meter rates to other, similar markets.


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