Casual Fridays: Who watches the local news?

The other day I got a phone call from a marketing research firm. I'm a sucker for these things, so I agreed to answer the questions, even though the caller said it might take up to 20 minutes.

CALLER: Can you tell me which local news shows you watch on TV from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. on Monday through Friday?
ME: I don't watch any local news.
CALLER: Okay. Now can you tell me which local news you watch from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. on Monday through Friday?
ME: Actually, I don't watch any local news on TV, at any time.
CALLER: Oh. I guess this is going to be a short survey.

But the call got me wondering about how many of the market researcher's calls went like that. When I was a kid, the whole family watched the local news, every day. But between graduate school, moving around the country, having small kids, and dealing with life in general, I just never got back into the habit.

But surely some people do watch local news on TV or they wouldn't keep broadcasting it. So this week's Casual Fridays study will attempt, using just a few questions, to find out who exactly is watching.

Click here to participate

The survey is brief, with just 12 questions. It should take only a minute or two to complete. You have until the morning of Thursday, August 30, to complete your response. There is no limit on the number of respondents.

Don't forget to come back next Friday to see the results!

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You are not the only one who fell out of the habit of watching the local news. Growing up my local news was also the national news to a certain extent (in the DC suburbs) and we watched religously, along with PBS's "News Hour" (McNeil, then McNeil/Lehrer, then with Jim Lehrer, now just The News Hour). Then we moved to Alabama. I listen to NPRs news everyday and Alabama Public Radio does a good job covering the state news.

By marciepooh (not verified) on 24 Aug 2007 #permalink

I watch the local CBC news in Saskatoon now and then. For those Americans who don't watch your local news, I don't blame you. Every time I watch American TV, there's always something terrifying like GANG RAPE IN DETROIT! COULD YOU BE NEXT!? Not really relaxing or informative.

By Erik Frederiksen (not verified) on 24 Aug 2007 #permalink

Yeah, around here there might be some reasonable local newscasts, but they always seem to get drowned out by headlines like this:

CRITICAL INFORMATION YOU MUST KNOW NOW TO SAVE YOUR LIFE! TUNE IN AT 11:00 TO FIND OUT WHAT IT IS!

If it's so important, why aren't they telling us now?

I'm another person who grew up watching local news (in the morning at 5:00 PM, and sometimes at 10:00 PM) but never watches it now. I will be interested to see if there is any generational difference in the survey results. My parents get their news from print newspapers and broadcast TV; everything I get comes into my RSS reader (online newspapers, MSNBC, and blogs). The closest I get to watching news on TV is Daily Show and Colbert.

I too grew up watching the local news. I still catch it once in awhile when something of local interest is going to be covered. My father (he's 80) watches the local news at both 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.

The only reason I watch the local news is to catch the in depth weather report with the good time lapse graphics. And that's only if I still happen to be up and in front of the TV at 10. There is no morning TV, let alone around dinner time TV!

I got out of the habit of watching local news too. Our local news tends to be mostly fluff, and I'd rather just get the information online. It's faster and less aggravating.

I've been watching the local news more often now that my ABC affiliate has upgraded to HD. The HD cameras are only in the studio, however, so I find it interesting to see the quality difference when they cut to the field reporters.

As for actual news, it's much faster for me to check online since I tend to carry around my laptop like a security blanket.

Ummm... We threw out our TV when we moved last year. Our two-year-old daughter doesn't need commercial TV, and between Netflix' watch-it-now and iTunes we can get everything from The Soup to Red Dwarf after she's in bed.

When I lived in DC, I didn't watch the local news. After all, the local news was kind of the national news. All that changed when I moved to Orlando last month. The local news is AWESOME. For some reason, all the weird stuff in the world seems to happen in Florida (hence its own tag on Fark.com). Our elected officials are always off soliciting sex from someone, someone's always robbing some store dressed up as a ninja or a clown, some gigantic reptile was found in someone's swimming pool...it's better than anything else on TV.

Weather and traffic are the only reasons I watch TV news. I mute pretty much everything else. When I want real news, I read it!

By ctenotrish, FCD (not verified) on 28 Aug 2007 #permalink

Local news - is a great many things but it is not a good use of one's time. The last time I watched the news i felt like my intelligence had been insulted and I was more angry than before it came on.

Our news here in Albuquerque goes like this: DUI, murder, rape, murder, DUI, murder, felon missing, then weather, then sports. I stopped watching when they went into excruciating detail about teenagers taking a friend to one of mesas and how they killed him. This type of reporting is grim sensationalism and downright morbid. I don't think anyone needs to hear about torture and murder. And another story about a driver having over 35 DUI tickets and still on the road driving says a lot about enforcement and consequences. I get my news online.