The value of local news in the streaming age

In an era of streaming television, when consumers have access to a seemingly limitless array of content from anywhere in the world across platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and HBO Max, it’s easy for consumers to overlook the importance of local news.

However, local news and especially quality journalism continue to play a crucial role in keeping citizens informed about what’s happening in their communities – a service that streaming platforms simply cannot match.

According to Pew Research Center’s 2022 survey on news media trends, 64% of U.S. adults often or sometimes get their news from television; with 33% preferring television news by a large margin over radio or print publications. This highlights the continued relevance and impact of local news outlets across DMAs.

The indispensable role of local news

Local news outlets serve as the backbone of our communities, acting as the first responders to breaking stories and providing comprehensive coverage on a wide range of topics – from politics and crime to health and lifestyle. They give citizens the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about issues affecting their communities, such as city council meetings and school board elections.

In addition, local news organizations offer in-depth analysis on critical issues, like housing shortages, education reform, and public safety, ensuring that their audiences are well-informed about how these issues impact their daily lives. Without this coverage, countless individuals would be left in the dark, uninformed and disengaged from their communities.

Moreover, local news outlets serve as a lifeline for local businesses, offering advertising opportunities that help them reach their target audiences. This symbiotic relationship not only fosters economic growth within communities but also helps build strong connections between businesses and their customers.

The enduring importance of quality journalism

Quality journalism has always been vital in keeping citizens informed about national and global affairs, from exposing political scandals to chronicling conflicts.


It plays an indispensable role in shaping public opinion and fostering critical thinking among citizens, encouraging them to form their own opinions about current events.

Furthermore, quality journalism serves as a powerful instrument for holding those in power accountable for their actions. By empowering journalists to investigate corruption and abuses of power, news outlets provide a platform for truth-seeking and exposing wrongdoing wherever it may exist.

Advocacy journalism – which CBS News Detroit is focusing on – provides immediate relevancy for viewers and brand differentiation in an ever-shifting marketplace. This is especially true as newspapers continue to hollow out under equity capital.

The future of local news

The advent of streaming services has undoubtedly transformed the way we consume content, but the significance of local news remains undiminished.

Outlets keep citizens informed about the issues that affect them, both locally and globally, and contribute to the overall health of our media ecosystem.

As technology continues to advance, it is crucial that we recognize and appreciate the value of our local broadcasters and the quality journalism they bring to each community they serve. Local news outlets offer unique insights while providing reliable, trustworthy information that citizens can depend on. 

The rise of streaming services and FAST should not overshadow the indispensable contributions of local news. Instead, these services should be thought of as a new avenue for the future, one that stations must adapt, deploy and iterate on. 

We don’t need 80 hours of the same headlines across dayparts. Now is the time, with the low barriers to entry for streaming, to test and trial, to figure out what is the true future of local news.