(Pew Research Center)
(Pew Research Center)

The chart above is good news for local news stations everywhere. After declines in years past, we’re talking about viewership bumps of six percent in the morning hours (5 to 7 a.m.), three percent in the early-evening broadcasts (5 to 7 p.m.) and a minute improvement of .1 percent at the 11 p.m. slot, according to the Pew Research Center. .

To what may we attribute this development? Pew:

One likely reason for the 2013 audience growth was the number of major news events that broke during the sweeps periods. In November, the month with the biggest audience increase, the troubled launch of the President Obama’s health care website was big news as was news coverage of big weather events, including tornados in the Midwest, and floods in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. In February, the manhunt for Christopher Dorner, the former Los Angeles police officer who went on a killing spree, generated big audiences in the nation’s second-biggest TV market. That same month marked the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the first pontiff to step down in nearly 600 years.

Eh, some weather events, political misfeasance, a big crime story: 2014 should have no trouble churning out equally headline-worthy events.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.