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Cable news report shows growth of news, public affairs channels informing millions

The proliferation of cable news and public affairs channels offers millions of U.S. viewers more community information and news than ever, according to a new report from the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation.

The report, “Cable News: A Look at Regional News Channels and State Public Affairs Networks," provides an in-depth review of available local, state and regional news and public affairs channels.

More than 30 cable news channels have found "a unique and reliable niche," the report says, providing around-the-clock, dependable record of the day's news along with weather, traffic and other stories of local interest. Many of the 25 state public affairs networks offer viewers in more than 20 million homes gavel-to-gavel coverage of state legislative hearings and other government activities.

The report finds a lot has changed in the five years since RTNDF released its first study of news on cable, "Non-Stop Local News." A few of the channels profiled in that report have gone out of business, while several new ones have been launched. The report details the differences in content, ownership and distribution of news channels and public affairs networks now in operation, and offers a behind-the-scenes look at what distinguishes these services from other sources of news and information.

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