Local TV News Tops for Hurricane Information

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has been one of the most destructive and costliest on record. Much of the damage in the U.S. has been caused by two hurricanes in particular – Harvey and Irma.

Hurricane Harvey was an extremely destructive Atlantic hurricane that became the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Wilma in 2005. Over the course of four days, many areas received more than 40 inches of rain as the slow moving system moved over eastern Texas and adjacent waters, causing catastrophic flooding in the region.

The second major hurricane and first Category 5 hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, Hurricane Irma caused widespread and catastrophic damage throughout parts of the Caribbean and the Florida Keys. Initial landfall took place at Cudjoe Key on September 10th, while a second landfall as a Category 3 hurricane was made at Marco Island later that same day.

TVB engaged research company Research Now to survey news media usage related to Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. For Hurricane Harvey, 724 respondents from the markets of Houston and Corpus Christi participated in the survey from Thursday evening (8/24) to midnight Saturday (8/26). For Hurricane Irma, interviews began midday Friday, September 8th in Miami, Ft. Myers and West Palm and midday Saturday, September 9th in Tampa Bay, Orlando and Jacksonville. 1,193 respondents participated in the short survey.

The analysis revealed that local broadcast TV news was overwhelmingly preferred as the go-to source for storm coverage over all other news sources during both hurricanes. Among the highlights:

  • Local TV news was the top choice for information during both hurricanes.
  • Looking at daily time spent, adults spent the most time with local TV news, compared to just a fraction of that for cable TV.
  • When facing dangerous weather approaching their region, adults felt that local TV news gave them the best information on how to prepare, more than cable news channels.
  • Respondents said they trust the news on local TV stations more than any other source, including cable news and social media.
  • Among the top reasons to use local TV news websites/apps during dangerous weather were, “the constant updates and latest information,” as well as, “I can access it wherever I am,” and “knowing the status of public services e.g school closing, road conditions, public transit, shelters.”

View the Studies

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