Editor’s Note: Sam Singal oversees Spectrum News’ digital editorial, its Washington D.C. Bureau and national news team, as well as Spectrum News NY1. His perspective on local news follows.
By Sam Singal, Spectrum News Group Vice President, Editorial
Local journalism is being threatened.
Local newspapers across the United States are shutting down at an average rate of two per week,* leaving citizens in some areas without reliable local information that is essential to their daily lives.
As a former executive producer for NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, I’ve seen firsthand how people rely on news that is both informative and readily available. In my current work with Spectrum News, I’ve been moved by the power of local journalism - news that paints a complete picture of the issues, interests and neighborhoods where people live and work. It’s about shared experiences, illuminating diverse perspectives and showcasing what unites versus divides us.
The majority of Americans rely on local news for daily information about their community, and where they feel most comfortable because they are familiar with their local anchors and reporters.**
Spectrum News Journalism Empowers Community Connection
At Spectrum News, we understand the role local journalism plays—it connects neighbors, builds strong communities and strengthens democracy. That’s why Spectrum News journalists are at school board meetings, on the steps of city halls and state capitols, and seated at local diners talking with local business owners. They live and work in the areas they cover. They tell the stories of everyday people, listen to their neighbors, and report on the issues that have a direct impact on peoples’ lives.
Spectrum News journalists are both subject matter experts and community experts. They approach news with a more thoughtful perspective and genuine connection. They are empowered to tell the stories that explain and illustrate the issues in their communities.
More importantly – our audiences rely on us time and time again when it matters most. For example, on Election Day 2022, Spectrum audiences solidified their trust in Spectrum News’ objective and reliable local journalism with more than 2.6 million households turned to our TV channels – more than turned to any of the major broadcast and cable news networks – for live coverage of key Senate, House and gubernatorial races.
These numbers affirm that people want and need news that is meaningful. Local journalism should foster a deeper understanding of local issues, and hold accountable elected officials and local decision-makers.
That’s why it’s important that our news is available and accessible to our audience on whichever platform they prefer.
Spectrum News Networks and Digital Platforms Enhance Connection
We have more than 30 local TV news networks across the country, a mobile news app with more than two million downloads; three digital-only local news operations; and, at a time when Americans rank television as the most important source for local news,** in September we expanded our local news app to streaming TV devices, launching on Roku and Apple TV.
Regardless of the platform, we know local journalism must be meaningful, objective and trusted. Spectrum News is a 24/7 local news operation – we have time to allow our journalists to foster deeper dialogue and empower community connection.
Above all, local journalism cannot become yesterday’s news. For your community, for my community, for all of our communities, we must embrace local news—today, and everyday—so it can thrive.
*“The State of Local News, The 2022 Report,” Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, June 2022
**Spectrum News/Morning Consult national poll of 5,000 US adults on local news sentiments, July 2022