Severe Weather Media Usage Studies

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California Wildfires | Hurricane Dorian | Bomb Cyclone Storm | Hurricane Harvey | Hurricane Irma

Every year, hurricane season is one of the most destructive and costliest events for the United States. Much of the damage in the U.S. in the last few years has been caused by three– Harvey, Irma, and Dorian. Additionally, in the first week of 2018, a “bomb cyclone” plastered the east coast with high winds and double-digit snow accumulation, and in November 2019, two wildfires caused substantial damage and created chaos in Northern and Southern California.

TVB engaged research company Dynata, formerly Research Now, to survey news media usage related to all five events. 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 weather emergencies. Among the highlights:

  • Local TV news was the top choice for information during each of these events.
  • Adults spent the most time with local TV news, compared to just a fraction of that for cable TV.
  • When facing dangerous weather, 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,” “I can access it wherever I am,” and “knowing the status of public services e.g school closing, road conditions, public transit, shelters.”