Pew's state of the news media 2012 brings good news for CHCH

The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellent in Journalism released it’s annual state of the news media report this week.

There is the expected and continuing decline of dead tree news. Newspaper companies are only seeing $1 for digital revenue for every $10 in print revenue lost. The last vintage of industrial era manufacturing continues to march to oblivion – look at a dead tree news organisation and most of the costs are non-editorial.

What’s killing newspapers is legacy costs and old business methods. The decline of newspaper news rooms started before the Internet.The future is digital and it’s local. If the U.S. government grants favourite tax status to non-profit journalism – it will be non-profit as well.

Good news for local early early morning television (and CHCH-TV)

The study finds local TV is rebounding.

Most encouraging for Hamilton-based West GTA focused CHCH is the Pew study reports early early morning newscasts are very successful for local stations.

CHCH operates Hamilton’s only 24/7 news operation and wisely takes advantage of the 4 a.m. timeslot to start broadcasting with Morning Live First Edition.

Unique for the Hamilton media market, they hired a Hamiltonian as one of the co-anchors. This shows with insightful commentary and understanding of the city that is rarely displayed in this market. As news becomes local, the importance of local knowledge will increase.

The 4 a.m. news hole is significant and the only source of overnight news in Hamilton is CHCH. . The Hamilton Spectator news room shuts down officially at 11 p.m. on weekdays and doesn’t restart until 5 a.m. The newspaper itself is yesterday’s news. CHML doesn’t start reading The Spectator on-air until 5 a.m. and is greatly assisted by CHCH’s 4 a.m. broadcast repeating those stories as well.

TV news websites can beat newspapers

CHCH’s website sucks. I can’t think of the last time I checked it for news. Forget about viewing on mobile or tablet.

This is unfortunate because TV stations in the United States are finding new revenue streams from their web operations and in a few markets becoming the leading online news source for their communities. With improvements to WiFi capabilities and increasing hotspots, the Internet will be a primary distribution network for television stations and CHCH stands to be left behind.

The Hamilton Spectator’s video offerings have decreased. CBC Hamilton hired one person with a focus on video and they’ve expressed interest in online live streaming.

What does it all mean?

Real-time local news will be the source of success for news, the only question is if old media will journey in that direction. CHML is dead, The Spectator is on life-support and can be revived, and CHCH is oblivious but will survive be virtue of their existing infrastructure for real-time transmission of video news.