Articles about "TV News"


Nielsen method for TV ratings missing minorities, young people

Television executives are increasingly concerned that paper diary measurement, a method from the 1950s to track TV viewing, excludes significant segments of the U.S. population, thus producing inaccurate ratings.

Diaries were never problem-free. Participants are asked to write in once a day what they watch on TV and when. The issues include inaccurate self-reporting, absence of households that should be represented in the samples, households declining to answer and long wait times for the data. The effort to analyze the diaries is massive: Nielsen uses diary measurement in 154 markets and processes two million diaries a year during “sweeps” periods.

Council for Research Excellence (CRE), a group of media measurement researchers including Nielsen executives, highlighted the biggest problem to date affecting diary data: a shortage of Blacks, Hispanics and young people among the participants.

How effective are diary measurements?

CRE addressed the issue at a “mini-summit” last week Tuesday in New York City. Based on 11 years of Nielsen data collected from 31 diary markets, CRE showed random errors have steadily increased.

Over time, local broadcast and cable ratings adopted a 10 percent margin of error that has become the acceptable standard used in advertising negotiations.

One of CRE’s research studies found only 11.3 percent of diary entries in a day fall within the accepted 10 percent error margin. For primetime viewing hours, the accuracy for entries is somewhat better, with 26 percent within the acceptable range. For evening and late night newscasts, accuracy fell within the acceptable margin at 18.1 percent and 20.7 percent, respectively.

The numbers, however, are not reassuring.

“Local TV diary, on a household basis, measures about 30 percent of all viewing in the U.S.,” Rick Ducey, managing director of research analysis for BIA/Kelsey, said at last week’s summit. “About 12 percent of total TV ad spending is based on diaries, so it’s a pretty significant economic force.”

Diaries aren’t yet obsolete because they provide a good enough estimation of TV viewing habits. More accurate measurement devices like people meters and “code readers” are on the horizon. These devices send information automatically to Nielsen about the shows people are actually watching based on the signals their televisions emit.

“A lot of people both on the buying side and the selling side get very frustrated at trying to use the diary,” said Billy McDowell, vice president of research at Raycom Media and chair of CRE Local measurement committee. Much of the frustration comes from the degree of inconsistency in the numbers.

However, rolling out the new devices has been more challenging than Nielsen expected, said Matt O’Grady, executive vice president and managing director of local media for the ratings service.

Non-respondents are different

Nielsen saw a rise in the accuracy of its ratings data after changing its sampling strategy from one based on telephone landlines to home addresses because more households have eschewed landlines in favor of mobile phones.

However, it isn’t easy to fix non-response bias, which introduces errors when people who are chosen to fill out diaries don’t participate or don’t answer all questions.

Nielsen uses demographic and market data to extrapolate the diary-based ratings to the greater U.S. population. This works as long as the households sampled represent a cross-section of the country.

But what happens if diaries overlook portions of the population? Census statistics may be of no help if the people excluded are fundamentally different in their viewing habits. And that’s what CRE found.

CRE embarked on a two-year, $2.1 million study with RTI International to answer a key question: Among people selected to write in diaries, what are the differences between people who participate and those who don’t?

Researchers looked at “responders” (or “Intabs”), versus “non-responders” (or “NonIntabs”) in three markets: Dallas, Albuquerque and Paducah.

Diary responders tend to:
• Include more whites than non-responders
• Be over 50 years old
• Be better educated
• Have no children at home
• Own their homes for more than 10 years
• Have a landline and one cell phone
• Watch networks like NBC, FOX, ABC and CBS
• Have cable TV at home

Non-responders are inclined to:
• Have larger household sizes with children at home
• Be renters
• Be younger
• Include higher numbers of Blacks and Hispanics
• Lack a landline phone but have at least one cell phone at home
• Have several electronic devices like computers, MP3 players and gaming consoles
• Watch networks like Univision, BET, MTV, Cartoon Network and HBO and less CBS and NBC than responders
• Have high-speed Internet at home and watch TV shows on the Internet
• Watch TV in groups, often at a friend’s house, or in restaurants and bars

How the different groups affect the numbers

Non-responders, who include the fastest growing population groups in the U.S., watch less TV than responders, whether during early viewing hours, prime time or overall. Further, the diaries don’t reflect homes that don’t have TV sets because these are excluded from the sample.

All of these factors increase the likelihood of ratings errors and raise the suspicion that the diaries are resulting in inaccurate ratings.

Concerns about the diaries’ reliability do not bode well for TV stations dependent on ratings-based advertising while challenged by Internet competition and aging audiences.

However, Nielsen is looking into which households are excluded, how to recruit them and “how to take the diary and evolve it,” said Nielsen’s chief methodologist Michael Link.

“The real way you’re going to correct non-response bias is upfront by finding better ways to recruit households at the beginning, not doing statistical adjustments at the back end,” he said.

The industry will continue to use diary data as long as local TV stations and advertisers “make their living based on diary information,” McDowell said, even while doubts persist.

Writer’s note: The link to the study presentation has been updated with slides from the CRE summit. Read more


Pew: TV is ‘the dominant way that Americans get news at home’

Pew Research Center

American adults continue to watch TV more than any other news source at home, with the highest percentage watching local news, the Pew Research Center reported Friday.

In a study of Nielsen data covering February 2013, researchers found 71 percent of U.S. adults had watched local newscasts and 65 percent watched network news over the span of the month. And while only 38 percent of adults watched cable news, those viewers spent twice as much time doing so than viewers of local or network broadcasts.

The Nielsen data, specially prepared for the Pew study, is based on the rating service’s panel of metered homes during the important February “sweeps” period. The findings are similar to that reported in previous Pew studies showing television remains the most popular platform for Americans consuming the news.

Related: One-third of millennials watch mostly online video or no broadcast TV | Pew surveys of audience habits suggest perilous future for news| Nearly one-third of U.S. adults have abandoned a news outlet due to dissatisfaction | Pew: Half of Americans get news digitally, topping newspapers, radio Read more


KTVU talks with AAJA about its plans to prevent future errors & increase station’s diversity

Asian American Journalists Association | TVSpy | The Huffington Post

The Asian American Journalists Association has published important highlights from its recent meeting with KTVU.

AAJA leaders met last Friday with KTVU News Director Lee Rosenthal, Vice President & General Manager Tom Raponi, staff reporter Amber Lee, and Rosy Chu, director of community affairs and public service to discuss KTVU’s error. Earlier this month, the station incorrectly named the pilots of Asiana Flight 214. The names were offensive and caused AAJA and others to react.

AAJA’s Bobby Calvan explained what came of the meeting:

  • Raponi suggested a quarterly meeting between AAJA and newsroom leaders to discuss ongoing coverage and diversity issues. We will set up the first session soon, with our San Francisco Bay Area Chapter taking the lead.
  • Raponi also welcomed AAJA’s assistance in developing training, perhaps through a workshop or seminar, for KTVU’s newsroom. We will work with the station to help develop and conduct the necessary program.
  • KTVU offered the SF Chapter use of its studios, logistical support and live streaming services to hold media access workshops, and Raponi said he would be pleased to participate.
  • KTVU said it would work with AAJA to develop a pipeline of talented journalists who could add to the station’s diversity.
  • KTVU offered to air public service announcements on our behalf if we are interested.
  • The station would provide airtime on Rosy Chu’s weekly show “Bay Area People” to discuss diversity issues.
  • AAJA invited Raponi and Rosenthal to attend our National Convention next month and to participate on the MediaWatch panel. We’re awaiting a reply.
Read more
San Francisco Airliner Crash

What KTVU-TV did right after its slip-up

It has been great sport all weekend for media critics to excoriate KTVU-TV in Oakland. There’s no denying KTVU made a big mistake. But when admitting to its mistakes, the station took an approach that other journalists should replicate.

Friday, KTVU aired the names of what it believed were pilots involved in the Asiana Airlines crash. The names were fake, offensive puns that slur Asians and insult victims.  KTVU did not say where the names originated but did say it confirmed the names with the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB later apologized and said a summer intern had confirmed the names.

Today, KTVU News Director Lee Rosenthal (whom I’ve known for several years) told me the station cannot say more about the incident because Asiana Airlines says it plans to sue the station for harming its reputation. It’s worth noting that he could have sent me an email denying my interview request, or he could have had a third party call me. But he responded himself.

KTVU has never hidden from its mistake. It corrected the story quickly, on the same newscast where the mistake was made. The station corrected the story online, it apologized on subsequent newscasts, and station management issued apologies.

One of its evening newscast anchors, Frank Somerville, said on air:

“We made several mistakes when we received this information. First of all, we never read the names out loud, phonetically sounding them out. Then, during our phone call to the NTSB, where the person confirmed the spellings of the names, we never asked that person to give us their position within the agency. We heard this person verify the information without questioning who they were and then we rushed the names on to our noon newscast.”

News Director Rosenthal told the Asian American Journalists Association the apologies don’t fix the error: “It doesn’t make things right,” he said. “We can assure you that none of this was premeditated nor was there any malicious intent in any way.”

The station’s actions align with the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, which says journalists should “admit mistakes and correct them promptly.” They also align with the Radio and Television Digital News Association’s Code of Ethics, which says journalists should:

  • “Respond to public concerns. Investigate complaints and correct errors promptly and with as much prominence as the original report.”
  • “Explain journalistic processes to the public, especially when practices spark questions or controversy.”

It seems to me that the station did what journalists should do when they make a mistake; they scramble to make it as right as they can. I think KTVU teaches journalists how to accept responsibility. It is not an excuse for making mistakes, and the station won’t get a second chance to make the same mistake.

Over the weekend, I read many social media and blog posts lamenting that the KTVU incident is a sign of the declining standards of journalism, especially local TV.

I think it’s better to shift the conversation and ask: What protocols could have prevented or mitigated mistakes like the one that happened at KTVU? The station suggested a few in its apology, and I’ve added a few more:

  • Sound out names before they go on the air and ask: Do they sound real?
  • Be transparent in reporting: How do you know what you know and who gave you the information?
  • More eyes on copy before it airs. We do not know who wrote the copy and who approved it because the station has not revealed this information. But a protocol that says more than one set of eyes sees all copy before it airs is a sound one.
  • Mandatory double-check on names. A colleague of mine who worked in print said it is normal for newspapers to have a mandatory double-check on all names, especially unconventional names and unusual words. I would love to know how often that protocol is followed these days. Does your newsroom do a search on names before using them? Does the same protocol apply to online stories and social media posts?
  • How would increased diversity or diversity training have increased the sensitivity to being tricked? A 2012 NABJ study found: “Out
 American.” It seems logical that having a more diverse newsroom raises your chances of catching racial and ethnic errors, as AAJA’s Paul Cheung and Bobby Caina Calvin pointed out in a story earlier today. It will only help, however, if everyone in the newsroom feels a responsibility to contribute to the editorial conversations.
  • When a newsroom makes a correction, especially on Twitter, it might be wise to repeat the correction for those who miss it. Newspapers often place corrections in the same place daily. But look at any TV site and see if you can find a corrections page where all corrections live. has such a page, and it is the one place where I don’t want my name or work posted, although it has been there from time to time over the years.

Smart newsroom leaders will use KTVU’s misfortune less as a chance to pile on and more as an opportunity to revisit the` value of promoting critical thinking in newsrooms.

One of my colleagues said this morning that this case shows the value of having “smart-asses” among us. We need to have experienced people around us who understand the kind of snark that would produce this kind of prank. More than that, we should promote the kind of thinking in newsrooms that questions everything, even when it comes from a usually reliable source.

Nothing here excuses what happened on KTVU’s newscast Friday. But it does recognize that the station tried hard to stand tall when it made a mistake. I respect that.

Correction: An earlier version of this story identified KTVU as based in San Francisco rather than Oakland. Read more


Cablevision shuts down Newsday Westchester

The Wrap | The Journal News

Cablevision closed Newsday’s digital-only Westchester operation Wednesday, Sara Morrison and Tony Maglio report.

Though Cablevision will not disclose how many employees were laid off, an individual with knowledge of Newsday’s plans told TheWrap that the layoffs will affect “a reasonably small” number of people. Another insider estimated the number may be close to 25.

The news org “launched in the spring of 2012 in an effort to compete with The Journal News and in the Lower Hudson Valley,” The Journal News reports in an unbylined article. “Editors, reporters and photographers for the organization covered local news in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange and Dutchess counties.” News 12, with which the Westchester operation partnered, and Newsday itself “will continue to operate,” The Journal News reports. Read more


Knight grants $1 million to expand library of TV news broadcasts

Knight Foundation 

The Knight Foundation has given $1 million to the Internet Archive so it can expand its TV News Search & Borrow project, a library of television news broadcasts.

The expansion will help Internet Archive make the library more searchable and increase the content available to historians, journalists, documentarians and others who use the service.

“One of the things that we’re going to be putting the Knight funding towards is really looking at this interface,” Roger Macdonald, director of the Search & Borrow project, said by phone. The improvements will “make it easier for people to do what has been a fairly novel thing.” Read more


TV station fires anchor who swore on air

CBS News

A North Dakota TV station has fired an anchor who swore during his inaugural anchor desk broadcast Sunday night.

A.J. Clemente was being introduced by co-anchor Van Tieu when he swore audibly during the 5 p.m. edition of the KFYR-TV news in Bismarck. He then stumbled through an introduction while trying to recover from his flub.

Read more


ABC, CBS and other networks take second swing at Aereo

The Wrap | New York Times

Aereo’s honeymoon is over, as broadcast networks re-filed their petitions for an injunction this morning.

As The Wrap reports, ABC, CBS, NBC Universal and Fox Television Stations are among the parties who have asked judges to reconsider the 2nd Circuit District Appeals Court’s decision from earlier this month. The decision came down in favor of Aereo, whom the court ruled was not in violation of copyright law.

The networks’ complaints stem from Aereo’s business model. Aereo provides a live stream of broadcast television to its subscribers via a live Internet feed. The court’s ruling hinged on the fact that Aereo uses an individual antenna for each subscriber; the judges in a 2-1 decision said this constituted a “private” rather than “public” performance, which meant Aereo is in the clear.

The networks have filed suit against Aereo to stop the company from transmitting their broadcasts without giving the networks compensation. Speaking from the NAB Show last week in Las Vegas, News Corp. President and COO Chase Carey  threatened to move Fox’s broadcast channels to cable if Aereo continued to win in the courts. Read more


Milwaukee TV station pulls video of reporter doing the Dougie at scene of fatal house fire

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A Milwaukee TV station’s promotional video of morning show personalities doing the Dougie has been yanked from the station’s website.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Duane Dudek noted that one reporter recorded her portion while on assignment at a fatal house fire. He said the video, featuring WITI-TV’s Angelica Duria performing the hip-hop dance near a news van, was shot while she was a half a block from a fire that killed three children.

The video, which had the cutline “The Fox 6 WakeUp Crew has a blast doing the Dougie,” also showcased reporter Laura Langemo and anchors Kim Murphy and Shawn Patrick, Dudek wrote. The separate segments were edited together and posted on the station’s Facebook page and website Friday. Duria had just finished a morning segment on the fire that day, and recorded her portion on the scene afterward. Duria was apparently listening to music through an earpiece, and was recorded by her station camera operator. Read more

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Chris Hayes on why ‘diversity … benefits the product’

Columbia Journalism Review | TVNewser | Media Matters

MSNBC’s Christopher Hayes acknowledges that the lack of diversity in the media is a problem. Instead of just talking about it, though, he’s doing something about it.

His weekend morning show “Up with Chris Hayes” has been praised in recent weeks for being “a beacon of diversity.” Hayes, who is about to move into prime-time, tells Columbia Journalism Review’s Ann Friedman that he and the show’s producers rely on quotas and spend a lot of time discussing the diversity of the show’s guests.

“We just would look at the board and say, ‘We already have too many white men. We can’t have more.’ Really, that was it … Always, constantly just counting,” Hayes tells Friedman.

He has tried to look at diversity from a racial and gender standpoint. “Out of four panelists on every show, he and his booking producers ensured that at least two were women,” Friedman writes. Read more