Local television viewers don't get much about city politics, budget woes or education on their sets but are fed plenty about crime, sports, weather and entertainment, according to a study released Thursday.
In an apparent bid to bolster ratings, TV news stations in Los Angeles are emphasizing crime and fluffier fare over nuts-and-bolts coverage of civic institutions, concludes a report that studied eight local TV stations and was prepared by the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism.
The study, which looked at KABC, KCBS, KNBC, KTLA, KCAL, KTTV, KCOP and Spanish-language KMEX, found that an average half-hour newscast devoted just 22 seconds to government issues, including city budgets, healthcare, layoffs and law enforcement.
In contrast, crime stories received seven times more coverage, averaging close to three minutes.
Sports and weather took up the most time -- more than 3 1/2 minutes, and "soft-news," including human interest and "oddball stories," averaged almost 2 1/2 minutes.