Room for Local News in Social Media

A new study from Crawford Johnson&Northcott says TV stations have some hope in terms of reining in young viewers to local news. The key is marrying local product with the social networking that’s so integral to the young adult lifestyle.

CJ&N looked at people 18-30 in the study. A live webinar yesterday shared the findings.

In a series of online focus groups, young adults across the country indicated a strong interest in local information and said they would welcome the availability of that information on their turf - social networking sites. Further, they said that a local television station would make an impression with them if it had a presence on those sites.

“They may not be loyal local television news viewers today, but they are certainly local information seekers,” said John Altenbern, CJ&N president.

Attracting young adults to the TV for local news on even a semi-regular basis doesn’t sound like it’s going to happen. Supplementing their Facebook and MySpace interaction with branded local news content, however, is a different story.

A couple responses from the young adults:

If the news was on Facebook, I’d check it more often.”

“I’d follow a local news feed on Twitter, and probably be amuch more informed member of my community, but I’mtoo lazy to go to their sites (local television) myself.”

One time the young folks do tune into the TV for local news, the webinar revealed, is during breaking news. They see the stations as a “trusted source”–as opposed to the yard sale of fact, fiction, opinion and gossip on the Web.

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.