Lear Center Local News Archive

New Local News Study Released: March 2010

The Lear Center released an unprecedented study of more than 11,000 news stories aired by eight LA TV stations. The results should have a direct bearing on the FCC’s proceedings on localism and the public interest obligations of broadcasters. Read the press release. Read the full report Local TV News in the Los Angeles Media Market: Are Stations Serving the Public Interest?

Watch the Discussion this Report Inspired:

Highlights from the discussion:










The Lear Center Local News Archive provided an unprecedented nationwide look at the news media Americans experience during campaigns, in response to the decline in quality of broadcast political coverage and the negative effect this has on democracy overall. This project tracked local broadcast political coverage; identified and highlights best practices; and provided resources for the improvement of coverage.

Lear Team Part of Invited Peer Review of FCC Media Ownership Study
Lear Center Director Kaplan Testifies Before FCC
“Does Local News Measure Up?” appears in Stanford Law & Policy Review

Read: English-Language Campaign Coverage in 2004
Read: Spanish-Language Campaign Coverage in 2004

Previous Findings

The Lear Center has issued reports on local news coverage since 1998. Beginning in mid-September and continuing through Election Day 2002, the project released regular reports and commentary on the quantity and quality of local television news campaign coverage. The reports documented practices like the amount of time local television stations devoted to campaign coverage and how stories were framed, with particular attention to the use of best practices. Over the longer-term, the project will disseminate and promote its findings through a series of scholarly conference papers, research articles, and possibly a book.

Results from the 2002 report were cited in a June 16, 2004, letter from Senate Commerce Committee chair John McCain and FCC chair Michael Powell to the heads of all the broadcast networks. The letter reported our finding that in the seven weeks leading up to election day 2002, more than half of all top-rated local news broadcasts did not have any campaign coverage. When they did air campaign stories on local news broadcasts, only 24 percent of the stories were about issues — most were focused on campaign strategy and polling data.