Local TV News: A Content Analysis of the Late Local Newscasts in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Communications (M.S.)


School of Communications


Local TV News: A Content Analysis of the Late Local Newscasts In Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a thorough study of the late newscasts presented on WOOD-TV, WZZM -TV, and WXMI-TV. Seven newscasts were studied on each of the stations. Each newscast was recorded on the same night, over a seven-week period. The first three newscasts were recorded on June 1, 2003. The final three newscasts were recorded on July 19, 2003. The study evaluated the amount of time devoted to nine areas that comprise most of the content offered by traditional local television newscasts: local news, state news, national/world news, issue-oriented reporting, local features, outside-source features, weather, sports, and promotions. As a percentage of total newscast time, the newscasts featured a small amount of local news. The station averages for the seven weeks studied were very similar, with local news comprising 14.8% to 17.7% of each newscast. Reports within the newscast often lacked new information or even clarity. Attribution of sources was rare and many stories were incomplete. All three stations spent a great deal of time on sports and weather, considering that much of the information presented in these segments had little or no local relevance. One of the most striking findings of the study involved the amount of time devoted to promotions within the newscast. All of the stations devoted more time to promotions than state news or issue-oriented reporting. WXMI devoted more of its newscasts (7.7% ) to promotion than any news content area, with the exception of local news and national/world news.


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