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Viewer Spotlight: Finding balance in our coverage of newsworthy topics

Viewers called into our toll-free Scripps News Viewer Hotline this week to weigh in on how much time we devote to certain stories.
Former President Donald Trump.
Posted at 3:53 PM, May 17, 2024

Each week, we take a moment to respond to some of the calls we receive on our toll-free Scripps News Viewer Hotline. Recently, many of you shared feedback about our ongoing coverage of former President Donald Trump's legal cases and trials.

J.D. from Arizona said, "All you do is show things about Trump, Trump, Trump. You do not show anything about Biden."

C.J. from Missouri added, "Every time I glance up at the TV, Donald Trump this, Donald Trump that."

Some of you have even voiced concern that our special coverage amounts to free air time for the former president's campaign.

An anonymous caller said, "It is as if you're like, you really want Trump to win based on your slanted view of giving him all the attention."

A logo for Scripps News' "Trump on Trial" segment

Viewer Spotlight

Viewer Spotlight: Inside Scripps News' 'Trump on Trial' segment

Christina Hartman
6:00 PM, Apr 19, 2024

This is candidly a debate we frequently have in our newsroom: When does a news event essentially turn into a political advertisement?

It's not always clear-cut. Sitting presidents and candidates for office have something of a bully pulpit, and they frequently use it to mix legitimate policy proposals — which you deserve to hear about — with campaign-style jabs at opponents.

It's not always easy to decide when to keep the cameras rolling or when to move on. President Joe Biden was similarly criticized for using his State of the Union address as a glorified campaign event.

Our producers have experimented with taking some of these kinds of live events and cutting them off when they veer into electioneering. But that can be a very subjective decision that's also fraught with its own issues.

This combination photo shows former President Donald Trump, left, and President Joe Biden.

Viewer Spotlight

How Scripps News balances coverage of Biden and Trump

Christina Hartman
3:41 PM, Mar 08, 2024

We try to base our decisions on value to our viewers and other daily coverage priorities. Some stories can be told in a day, some merit follow-up, and others warrant special ongoing coverage.

To the callers interested in understanding why we're covering Trump's legal issues, it is — of course — the first time a former U.S. president has faced such serious criminal and civil allegations in court. We consider that newsworthy and worth reporting thoroughly with context.

Donald Trump is also the presumptive Republican nominee for president, and recent Associated Press-NORC polling shows that roughly half of Americans would consider him unfit to hold office if he is convicted of a crime. For that reason, we consider the proceedings valuable to many viewers.

Meanwhile, that's not to say we aren't reporting on a variety of other important topics as well. Tell us more about which stories matter to you.

Leave us a message anytime on our toll-free Scripps News Viewer Hotline at 1-833-4-SCRIPPS. Your call might even be shared on air!