Editorial: We’ll Be Watching

Broadcasters must evolve to survive

Local TV news has to evolve to survive. “If you don’t invent or evolve a new value proposition for your newscast, [viewers] go away. They already know what you’re going to tell them.” That was the advice of one research exec polled for this week’s cover story on investigative journalism by Michael Malone.

The good news is broadcasters get it and are investing in enterprise reporting that should have pols with their hands in the till looking over their shoulders.

It is worth remembering that broadcasters suffered the double whammy of a “Great Recession” that came at the same time that their news business model was being blown up by legions of websites with no start-up costs siphoning off audience and ad dollars.

Regulators have seemed to discount this when deciding whether to provide regulatory relief, which the FCC has yet to do. Attention FCC: The media marketplace looks nothing like it did when limits on station ownership and crossownership were installed decades ago.

But broadcasters know they can’t expect Washington to “get it,” so they continue to do the best with what they have, racking up the Peabody, duPont and Murrow awards in the process.