Almost two-thirds of local TV stations aired no election coverage in their
newscasts between Sept. 18 and Oct. 4, according to a study by The Norman Lear
Center and the University of Wisconsin.
Of 2,454 half-hour newscasts analyzed, 1,311 carried no campaign coverage,
according to the study.
Of the 1,037 election stories that aired, fewer than 20 percent had candidate
soundbites, and for those 20 percent, the average length of the bite was under
The study used for comparison newscasts on 22 stations that had either
pledged to provide in-depth reporting (identified as "best practices" stations)
or had committed to providing free airtime to candidates.
Among the "best practices" stations, one-half contained campaign stories
(compared with 34 percent) of the study sample. That number was 45 percent for
the free-airtime stations.