"Does Ownership Matter in Local Television News?"

Posted by Mitchell - February 24, 2003 (entry 5)

The answer seems to be "yes," according to a five-year study of ownership and quality conducted by the Project on Excellence in Journalism.

172 stations and some 23,000 stories were examined. Among the findings from the report's summary:

  • Smaller station groups overall tended to produce higher quality newscasts than stations owned by larger companies-by a significant margin.
  • Network affiliated stations tended to produce higher quality newscasts than network owned and operated stations-also by a large margin.
  • Stations with cross-ownership-in which the parent company also owns a newspaper in the same market-tended to produce higher quality newscasts.
  • Local ownership offered some protection against newscasts being very poor, but did not encourage superior quality.

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