Latest RTDNA/Hofstra University Research Shows More Employed in Local TV News Than Newspapers for the First Time in Report's History

Survey of news directors shows signs of life in local news as broadcast outlets fill the gap through digital platforms

According to the 2018 Local News Staffing Report conducted by the Radio Television Digital News Association and Hofstra University, total local TV news employment has surpassed total daily newspaper employment for the first time in the more than 24 years this survey has been conducted. 

“Despite all the talk about alleged news deserts across the country, our research clearly shows broadcast and digital journalists are serving their communities throughout America,” said Dan Shelley, executive director of RTDNA. “And often, the journalism they produce results in positive changes in those communities.” 

Despite all the talk about alleged news deserts across the country, our research clearly shows broadcast and digital journalists are serving their communities throughout America.

Dan Shelley

RTDNA Executive Director

The report also shows employment in local TV news hovers at 27,100, just below peak levels in 2001 that reached 27,900. The total employment number did drop 1.8 percent year-over-year, partially attributed to the loss of two local newsrooms.

Another statistic from the report showed the largest proportion of newly created positions over the past year were those dedicated to digital platforms (web, social media or other digital media positions).

“Broadcast newsrooms across the country are adapting,” said Shelley. “They are responding by creating content that can be consumed digitally as more people turn to phones and tablets to stay informed.”

According to the report, news directors also indicated they expect staffing levels to either increase or remain the same in the coming year. 

The RTDNA/Hofstra University research is the only comprehensive annual survey of radio and television newsrooms. Research was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2017 among all 1,683 operating, non-satellite television stations and a random sample of 3,542 radio stations. Valid responses came from 1,333 television stations (79.2 percent) and 415 radio news directors and general managers representing 1,110 radio stations. 

The Local News Staffing Report is the first in the 2018 series of reports. Additional reports on salaries, diversity, news coverage and business operations will be released in the coming weeks. All 2018 reports, as well as those from previous years, can be found by visiting


RTDNA is the world’s largest professional organization devoted exclusively to broadcast and digital journalism. Members include local and network news executives, news directors, producers, reporters, photographers, editors, multimedia journalists and digital news professionals in broadcasting, cable and digital media, as well as journalism educators and students. Founded as a grassroots organization in 1946, RTDNA works to protect the rights of broadcast and digital journalists in the courts and legislatures throughout the country, promotes ethical standards in the industry, provides members with training and education and honors outstanding work in the profession through the Edward R. Murrow Awards. The Association's members help shape the future of the journalism profession as we protect their interests by advocating on their behalf and lobbying in their interest. We defend the First Amendment, advocate for open government and freedom of information, and promote diversity in newsroom staffing and coverage.


Sarah Hogan, Barefoot PR for RTDNA 

Source: Radio Television Digital News Association


Categories: Media Industry, Media and News

Tags: broadcast, Dan Shelley, digital, media, news, newsroom, RTDNA, television

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