NewsLab Releasing Midwest Campaign Coverage Study


The University of Wisconsin's NewsLab Thursday will release its latest analysis of local TV election coverage.

NewsLab looked at 36 network-affiliated stations in nine Midwestern markets: Chicago, Springfield, Ill.; Detroit; Lansing, Mich.; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Cleveland; Columbus, Mo.; Madison; and Milwaukee.

Stations in those markets should be forewarned. While it did not telegraph its findings, the University has produced a number of studies critical of broadcasters' political coverage, including one last year, much criticized by broadcasters, that alleged that local TV stations carried 12 times more coverage of sports and weather than local political races races.

NewsLab identifies the latest study funder as political reform group, The Joyce Foundation. in Chicago.

The foundation has been pushing for campaign finance reform. According to its Web site, the foundation gave a one-year grant of $251,381 to the university "to support the creation of a new Midwest News Index by the University’s NewsLab which would clip, code, analyze and archive local political and government news coverage by television stations in nine Midwest media markets."