Entertainment tonight? The value of informative TV news among U.S. viewers
Local television news professionals face audience declines and a rapidly changing information environment. Faced with such circumstances, many have suggested that sensational and entertaining fare might offer a way to bolster viewership. Our data from a national survey of local TV news viewers in the United States (n = 2,728) suggest that view might be incomplete. Although a variety of beliefs about TV news, including those related to how exciting or entertaining the news is, predicted general attitude toward TV news viewing, the most important predictor of such attitude was the extent to which a person found programming to be informative. TV professionals might be wrong about the need to chase audiences with dramatic and entertaining fare, sacrificing substantive reporting in the process.