Local Websites Are A Challenge, Opportunity for Stations

A new study from RTDNA (Radio Television Digital News Association) sheds light on the challenge local stations have maintaining their websites. Only 38 percent of news directors responded that they’re comfortable that their stations are on top of new technology. TV Web sites have increased the number of live newscasts and audio streaming compared to a year ago. Radio stations have increased the use of pictures, audio, streaming, video clips and podcasts.

While the study finds that most local broadcast stations have added staff this year for their online efforts, it also finds the stations lacking in management level expertise for those platforms. “The latest RTNDA/Hofstra University study holds a mirror up for us to see the immediate need for more editorial supervision and management vision when it comes to our news web sites,” said RTNDA Chairman Stacey Woelfel. “These sites have never been as important as they are now and are, of course, a primary path for us to deliver news to our audiences — now and even more so in the future. This research gives every news director in America something to examine in his or her own newsroom.”

Meanwhile, NPR has identified a similar craving for local news online. They recently received $3 million in funding to launch a new journalism project that will focus on providing in-depth, hyper-local coverage on community-specific issues on an online platform. According to a report in Techcrunch, certain stations will pilot projects to provide hyper-local news of interest in their communities, by hiring journalist bloggers to gather news and info on specific topics. In addition, the pilot stations will have access to video from PBS’s The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and other PBS programs, and will be able to share their content as well.

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