While local TV news is becoming an increasingly important source of health-related information for consumers, local stations are often lagging behind in their willingness to commit additional resources to producing health coverage.

According to a new study from D S Simon Media that surveyed 65 producers at local TV news stations around the country, almost nine out of 10 respondents (87.5 percent) said they had increased the amount of health coverage they’ve been producing since the beginning of the pandemic.

But almost 40 percent of the stations that have bulked up their health coverage have done so without the benefit of extra resources. Overall, just slightly more than half (53.85 percent) of survey respondents said they have increased the amount they are allocating to health coverage.

DS Simon Study

That financial crunch has led to an increasing reliance on technology and outside resources. The top method for generating health-related content is to interview a spokesperson on Zoom or via satellite, which was cited by 83.8 percent of respondents. Sending out a reporter and crew came in second at 72.31 percent, with taking a network or syndicated feed following at 56.92 percent.

In addition, most respondents said that their stations no longer have someone on staff who is solely covers medical or health/lifestyle topics. Only 26.56 percent said they have a dedicated medical or health/lifestyle reporter, while just 14.06 have a producer focused primarily on those topics.

D S Simon Media’s survey was conducted during the first quarter of 2022.