For the fifth year in a row, representation of people of color in local TV news improved overall and, for the fourth year in a row, a record high percentage of the local TV news workforce are people of color. However, work remains.
Close to half of local TV news directors and half of radio managers report any innovation their station took on during 2020 was to cope with COVID. Local news managers cited the “enormous logistical challenge” of moving workflows remote and cloud based. “No-contact storytelling” posed another challenge.
Contrary to all expectations, local TV news ended 2020 with record high employment — until cuts in March 2021 erased those gains. Local TV news added 500 jobs during 2020, making up for about 300 lost the previous year. The 1.8% increase brought total full-time local TV news employment to 28,000, just over 2009’s previous high.
After falling in 2019 for the first time in seven years, local TV news salaries made gains in 2020. Despite pandemic-related pay cuts, local television news salaries, on average, increased by 3.5%, or 2.1% after accounting for inflation. This was the largest increase in salaries since 2016.