Local News Station Survey
As part of the information gathered about member stations' local
news reporting capacities, NPR Audience & Corporate Research
designed and fielded a survey for NPR Member stations. These
findings provide insight into the best approaches to enhance
the capacity of member stations to provide quality, in-depth local news
The Local News Station Surveys consisted of two separate targeted
surveys. All NPR Member stations were invited to participate in both.
- There are approximately 500 news reporters in the public radio
system (of which more than 2/3 is full-time). There are also 160 news
directors, 150 news producers, and 100 news editors.
- Stations reported constraints in available staffing
and funding to support both their existing and planned reporting
- Most stations had explicit plans to expand local
news coverage and are active in the production and use of local news...
- ...yet few of its member station organizations have strong local
news reporting capacity with more than a few dedicated full-time
reporters, producers or editors.
- Nearly all stations produce local newscasts. Stations devote
most of their local news coverage to state/city/politics, schools and
education, arts & cultural events, environment, health, and business
- Less than half of all stations said that their reporters work is edited by someone else all the time before being broadcast.
- The majority of stations exchange news stories with either public
radio stations and/or with other state/regional news networks. More
than half of stations said that their local 'non-radio' media does not
file stories for their station.
- Slightly more than one-tenth of stations of stations have
secured endowments or other special funding to specifically support
station's news and public affairs programming. One out of five stations
have obtained grants to fund reporter expenses