KTRH Local Houston and Texas News

KTRH Local Houston and Texas News

KTRH-AM covering local news from Houston and across Texas.


The American relationship with local news continues to change

The basic precipice of overall news has gone downhill in the last couple decades, as more focus gets put on pushing agendas, and stories that fit those agendas. More and more stories that are not actual news continue pouring into the public through more avenues than ever before, with the advancement of social media and technology.

Local news sources have not been much different in many places, with plenty of them putting efforts into covering things like Meg Thee Stallion's favorite foods, or the best dressed at the Met Gala. Things have moved from covering important things like city council meetings to covering unimportant things like ranking the best restaurants on a trip to Orlando.

That has pushed many Americans into a realm of just avoiding news altogether. They would rather watch their favorite TV show, or a YouTube video of someone launching themselves in a homemade catapult. But in many cases, people who do want to get their news fix prefer to turn to online sources, rather than TV or print. According to Depauw University professor of media studies Jeff McCall, that is a bit of a problem.

"There are not a lot of digital sources that cover local news...people think they are being informed of local news, when instead they are looking at their Instagram account," he says. "Journalism in the minds of consumers today has changed in its relevance."

In a recent study, a 63% majority say they think their local news outlets are doing very or somewhat well financially. People generally have lost their faith in watching local news and are now reverting to thinking social media is actual news.

"The local news atmosphere has become very confused, and it has gotten hard for them to provide news of substance...and I think their credibility is a problem," he says. "Plus, local consumers do not define news the same way they would have a generation ago."

But news producers keep churning out an inferior product in the name of following their agenda of getting views. People keep eating the dull flavored candy too and running with it.

"There is a false sense that people will not consume news of substance and that the only way you can get them to your site is to give them clickbait...that is a problem," he says. "The news agenda has softened...and the leaders in the industry are not understanding what makes good news anyway."

There is also a perception among the industry that people do not care about things like city council, or what is happening in the community.

Personally, I can tell you that especially in smaller towns, they care. In Navasota once, there was a city council meeting to discuss a new Taco Bell in town. It drew a crowd of over 150 people to speak publicly for or against the issue. Normal meetings typically drew maybe 10 people that were not required to be there.

So, what happened to local news? Well, it pretty much died when newspapers ended up on life support.

"They dummied down the news industry...and now we are concerned that people do not take them seriously...they need to reinvent themselves into something from a generation ago, when every adult read a newspaper," he says.

Alas, local news appears to be dying, and unless a drastic change comes along, it might not be long before it is dead.

Newspaper with the headline Local News

Photo: Zerbor / iStock / Getty Images

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