How much of what local TV stations post to Facebook is actually local? For many, right around half

I am not a fan of TV news, and in fact only watch a full broadcast once every two years, in order to prep for a particular unit in my intro to journalism class. In truth, I am going to have to redesign that unit, because most of my students aren’t in the habit of watching full broadcasts, they just watch clips that people share on social media. I want my students to understand the financial and technological constraints of the institution that supplies those clips, and the context in which those clips were created.

Shan Wang writes:

I was curious how much of the news that local TV stations posted to Facebook was really local news. So I analyzed 28 TV stations’ Facebook posting activity for the period between March 23 and March 30 — around 8,000 total posts….

To their credit, many stations in our sample made compelling use of Facebook Live, especially for weather and traffic, and to bring viewers into the TV studios before a broadcast. Every station in our sample covered the March for Our Lives protests on a local level, and livestreamed the national event in D.C. Some have used Facebook video to help make the findings in an investigative report more concrete for viewers. Others offer Facebook Groups as a space for readers to discuss a very specific local issue. Examples of smart use of Facebook would span a whole separate story (stay tuned).

But if your main source of local news is the Facebook page of your local TV news station, and if less than half of your local news TV station’s posts on Facebook each week are locally relevant, then it’s a good bet that, in the limited real estate of the News Feed, you’ll actually see an informative story about your own community. —Nieman Lab

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