Nationwide, NPR stations are putting the spotlight on local news, according to a survey conducted by MVM Consulting, “NPR Stations Continue Growing Local News.” These affiliate stations are adding to local news staff, allocating more airtime for local news and highlighting local news content online.
Both actual growth for 2012 and predicted growth for 2013 are rated high for local news.
More than 40% of NPR member stations increased full-time local news staff numbers “slightly” or “significantly” in 2012. Half said they did not change their staff, and only 8% indicated a decrease.
For 2013, 38% of member stations anticipate adding full-time news staffs, while 4% predict downsizing as part of the future. However, 58% expect to maintain the same number of news staffers.
NPR affiliates are also boosting their online presence. Approximately two-thirds say they increased their local news content in 2012, and 71% expect to do so in 2013, according to the survey.
Local news and public affairs are also enjoying increased airtime at one-third of NPR stations, although 60% said that they did not alter their airtime format in 2012. For the next year, 45% of stations plan to devote additional airtime to local news.
The survey was conducted by Michael V. Marcotte of MVM Consulting and the University of Nevada School of Journalism. The online survey was open only to 136 invited stations; 103 of the total were NPR members. PhD candidate Sandra Evans of The Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California also collaborated with Marcotte, who is a visiting professor at the University of Nevada.