Broadcast journalists struggling to keep up with technology

New results from the RTNDA/Hofstra University study (pdf) show only 38% of TV and radio news directors say their staffs are “really on top of new technology and where they’re headed.”  The rest have “a long way to go” (48%) or are “mostly winging it” (13.7%).

The study shows 99.1% of all TV stations surveyed have Web sites (93.1% of radio stations), and 97.7% of TV stations include local news on their sites (74.2% radio).

Looking specifically at TV, a vast majority (92.7%) of sites are airing video, but many fewer are airing newscasts, either live (33.9%) or recorded (30.6%).  Interestingly, the Web publication of recorded newscasts dropped from a year ago while live newscasts increased, and there was more audio streamed online.

A little more than half the stations in the survey are producing blogs (55.6%) and just a fraction have the option to let users assemble their own newscasts (8.1%).

In terms of content, the survey says users want local news, local weather and local sports – no surprise, but entertainment news – a staple of many Web sites, is actually less of a driver than national news or bios of on air talent.

TV Web sites don’t have a lot of dedicated staff; they average 2.3 full-time employees and 3.7 part-timers.  The study says, “Year after year, the percentage of news staffers who help on the Web continues to grow.”  This year 59.7% of stations say “other staffers help on the Web” (up from 16% in 2001).

One of the reasons for the small staffs may be that fewer than a third (30.7%) of all TV stations report making money from the Web, and most of those are in large markets with the biggest staffs.  Of the rest, 17.1% say they’re taking a loss online; others are breaking even or just don’t know.  On the bright side, the profitability of TV Web sites is trending up.