News as a Texas Chainlink Deathmatch
Hollowell, Scott A.
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Critics contend that local television news is abdicating its journalistic mission in pursuit of higher ratings. Within a gatekkeeping framework, this study examines what role daily ratings and stress have on a producer’s content decisions. A survey was sent to producers in 43 metered markets. The survey asked producers about their editorial orientation, their work environment, and their individual stress level. The producers were given a list of stories that reflected either traditional news values or market values. The producers than ranked the stories in order of preference. Data from the survey shows that producers who have a high individual stress level were more likely to select market-oriented stories. Producers who worked in a high-stress in regards to ratings were more likely to make content decisions based on market values rather than news values.