Public Television Journalism

Public television news is an alternative to commercial news programming that positions the audience as information-seeking citizens rather than consumers. The public television model seeks to provide news that is important to a self-governing citizenry regardless of its commercial viability in the broadcast or cable marketplace. Ostensibly free from corporate control, advertising pressures, and the quest for ratings, public television news is generally marked by longer formats, more in-depth coverage of issues, slower pacing, and less focus on visual content compared to commercial news.

Public television news was slow to emerge in the United States. Commercial networks staked early claims to the broadcast spectrum that were subsequently protected by federal legislation. By contrast, in the democracies of Western Europe, public television news was part of a ...

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