Are local newscasts really local?

As things shift and change in local newscasts, one Montreal-based blogger took it upon himself to examine a few local newscasts to see what exactly they are airing and how much local news they really contain.

Steve Faguy, who blogs at Fagstein, is a copy editor at The Gazette and blogs frequently on Canadian media issues.

In his post, “How local is your local TV newscast?“, he graphs his personal, and unscientific, experiment in watching local newscasts. He wrote:

“I noticed a trend recently, particularly at Global, where local newscasts would take packaged TV reports from affiliated stations and national reporters and use them to fill the back end of their one-hour shows. Did this serve to give a taste of a national perspective and bring this country together, or was it a way to save on staff by replacing local news with canned filler from other stations?

“To answer that, I decided to quantitatively study these newscasts the only way I knew how: I’d watch them.

“Over the summer, I watched three one-hour newscasts (picked pseudo-randomly) from each of the networks, timing the length of each segment with my laptop and marking down what they were talking about. I wanted to figure out how much of the newscasts were devoted to local versus non-local news.

Here’s what I found out.”

Here’s a glimpse at some of the stats he graphed for the local newscasts he watched for his experiment (note: Faguy also breaks his numbers down by station):

  • 32% of the newscast is local news
  • 23% is advertising
  • 17% is national news
  • 9% is weather
  • 8% is sports
  • 7% is filler (openings, closings, banter, previews, recaps etc.)
  • 4% is wire news

He watched CFCF News at 6, CBMT News at 6 and CKMI News Final.