Journalism and Mass Communications, College of


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A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Journalism & Mass Communications, Under the Supervision of Professor Bernard McCoy. Lincoln, Nebraska: May 2013

Copyright (c) 2013 David W. Madsen


Local television stations, especially in smaller markets of 100,000 to 200,000 TV homes, are constantly looking for adults between the ages of 25- 54 to watch their TV newscasts. TV stations must nurture younger audiences (of adults 18-34) to grow into older, desired audiences of loyal TV news viewers. Because of technological innovations such as the Internet, Facebook and Twitter, younger audiences are spending less time watching local TV news.

Existing research on younger audiences has largely focused on news consumption in general (TV, radio, newspaper, Internet), used more of a national news focus, and was often conducted in large U.S. markets. This thesis asked 354 people, aged 18-34, about local TV news consumption in smaller, Midwest television markets. The survey also asked respondents what might encourage them to watch more local TV news.

Results indicate the younger audience for local TV news is shrinking, but there are positive signs for local TV stations hoping to increase the size of those young audiences for the future.

Adviser: Bernard J. McCoy

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