ERIC Number: ED217435
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Jul
Reference Count: 0
A Content Analysis of Network TV's Coverage of the 1980 Party Conventions.
Foote, Joe S.; Rimmer, Tony
On the premise that a gap has developed between the newsworthiness of the national political party conventions and the television network resources allocated to cover them, the three major networks' coverage of the 1980 Democratic and Republican national conventions was analyzed to document patterns that influence the networks' portrayal of party conventions. Prime time coverage of the second night's proceedings (generally limited to debate on the party platform and party loyalists speaking to the convention) was taped from all three commercial networks. Three main categories of content were coded for analysis: (1) official proceedings, (2) anchor analysis, and (3) correspondent reports and interviews. The results showed that although official proceedings still accounted for nearly half of broadcast coverage, the networks' own interpretations of convention events dominated coverage. All three networks relied heavily on floor correspondent reports, interviews, anchor analysis and commentary to punctuate coverage. Official convention proceedings were dispensed to viewers in 6- to 8-minute segments, with convention organizers usually adapting their agendas to meet network constraints. Within these similar structures, each network emphasized its particular organizational strength, and inter-network competition was evident throughout the convention. Network producers, sensitive to this "newsworthiness gap," may devise a new coverage model for 1984, abandoning continuous coverage of the conventions. (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Political Campaigns; Television Networks
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism (65th, Athens, OH, July 25-28, 1982).