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State Of Local Media Does Not Look Good, Pew Report Finds

A Pew Research Center report finds local media has shrunk significantly in the past several years, but local outlets say they are adapting to the changes.

state of media report

Photo: Pew Research Center

The State of the News Media 2013 shows reduced reporting is hurting media outlets' credibility.

Terre Haute media outlets could be bucking the national trend when it comes to audience size. A recent Pew Report suggests local broadcast news outlets, like local newspapers, are shrinking.

The industry has shrunk by 30 percent since its peak in 2013, the report finds, and a drop in coverage has weakened many station’s credibility with the public.

But Terre Haute editors say that has not been the case in their newsrooms.

Max Jones, editor of Terre Haute’s Tribune-Star, says the newspaper was hit hard by the economic downturn of 2008 and 2009. Since then, the Trib-Star has had to, in Jones’s works, “tighten up”.

That has meant cutbacks in staff, just as the Pew Report suggests. However, Jones does not think the cutbacks have hampered the newspaper’s product.

“You do the best you can,” he says. “You do what you can afford to do. You try to use your resources wisely, and I think your customers understand what’s happening and hopefully don’t notice a drastic difference and understand that they are still getting the basics, the fundamentals out of you that they expect.”

Todd Weber, the General Manager at Terre Haute CBS affiliate WTHI says he has tried to move people to other jobs in the organization rather than laying them off.

“There have been a lot of repurposing of different staff because of trying to support the digital efforts and so forth, but as far as downsizing, absolutely not,” he says.

Weber says devoting more resources to the station’s website and mobile apps encourage viewers to also view the television broadcasts.

Still, the Pew report warns that while many stations have boosted their digital news, they are entering the digital world late, meaning they could have already lost some viewers to other outlets.

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