According to a survey conducted by The Pew Research Center for People and the Press, roughly half of those polled say they rely on local broadcast and network newscasts as their principal source of campaign news. Covering politics well is not easy, especially in an era of declining news budgets and rising ratings expectations. As a result, many local news stations find it difficult to air quality campaign coverage, and research shows that quality political discourse is largely disappearing from local television news.
The Lear Center Local News Archive is a groundbreaking effort to study and archive local television news coverage of the 2004 elections across the country. This project:
The archive allows access to campaign stories aired in 11 markets during
the 2004 general election campaign – an invaluable tool for the
public, academics, policymakers, advocates and broadcast professionals.
We hope that this project will encourage television stations around the country to improve campaign coverage in future elections, and provide a unique resource for broadcast professionals, journalists, academics, and the public.
The Lear Center Local News Archive is a project of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center, a multidisciplinary research and public policy center exploring implications of the convergence of entertainment, commerce, and society. On the USC campus, the Lear Center builds bridges between eleven schools whose faculty study aspects of entertainment, media, and culture. The Lear Center relies on donations from our supporters to make this program happen. We have a secure online setup available to process your credit card transactions. Please consider donating today! Beyond campus, it bridges the gap between the entertainment industry and academia, and between them and the public. Through scholarship and research; through its programs of visiting fellows, conferences, public events, and publications; and in its attempts to illuminate and repair the world, the Lear Center works to be at the forefront of discussion and practice in the field.
The Lear Center's research on local news coverage of campaigns began with the 1998 gubernatorial election in California. This study found that:
In 2000, the Lear Center conducted a nationwide study of 74 stations in the top 58 media markets. This study found that:
In 2002, the Lear Center conducted its largest study yet, collecting almost 11,000 stories from 142 stations. In a random sample of 7,460 stories on 122 stations, this study found that
The NewsLab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a unique state-of-the art facility that has the infrastructure, technical skill, and supervisory capability to capture, clip, code, analyze and archive any media in any market – domestic or international – in real time. Video can be gathered, digitized, sorted and archived automatically by the InfoSite system, a media analysis product of CommIT Technology Solutions of Madison, Wisconsin (www.commitonline.com). This system includes a variety of automatic validation checks to ensure superior coding reliability and logical consistency. With over a terabyte of storage, the NewsLab servers manage data, encode and archive video, and serve content through one of many custom media analysis tools, both internally, and to the rest of the world via the Internet. The Newslab director is Erika Franklin Fowler. The University of Wisconsin Advertising Project (www.polisci.wisc.edu/tvadvertising) is also housed in the NewsLab facility, where it tracks real time political advertising flows across the nation.