Media Research Project Code Sheet

Story   Come up with a title for each story – one that sums up the theme of the story

 

Office(s) or Initiative(s) featured in the story (can be multiple in one story)

1. U.S. Congress

2. Governor

3. State Legislature (Senate or Assembly)

4. Other statewide office (Secretary of State, Attorney General, etc.)

5. Local race (Mayor, county office, city council, school board, etc.)

6. Initiative or ballot measure

7. Election in general

8. Other (specify)

 

Story Frame (can be multiple – put in order of emphasis if so)

1. Horserace/ strategy (who is ahead or behind, what it would take to win, etc.)

2. Ad Watch/ Fact Check – the journalists are assessing the truthfulness of campaign claims or ads.

3. Issue – discussing candidate positions on issues (or impact of initiative)

4. Personal/ scandal – stories about candidates hairstyle or drunk driving arrest, etc.

 

Length of Story

This may take a rewinding to get right.  Use the stopwatch to determine how long the story lasts – from anchor intro to the end of coverage of that topic.

 

Story placement in newscast

1.       Before the first commercial break

2.       After the first commercial break, before the second

3.       After the second commercial break, before the third

4.       After the third commercial break, before the fourth

5.       After the fourth commercial break, before the fifth

6.       After the 5th commercial break

 

Who is shown or interviewed in the story (aside from the reporter or anchor)

1. Candidate or initiative sponsor(s)

2. Staffers or campaign officials

3. non-partisan “experts” (academics, Legislative Analysts Office, pollsters, etc.)

4. Partisan “experts” (Democratic or Republican strategists, partisan think-tank, etc.)

5. Other journalists (a newspaper reporter, a reporter from another TV outlet, etc.)

6. Citizens interviewed (voters, person on the street, etc.)

7. Other officeholders not running for office in CA (President Bush, Senator Obama, etc.)

8. Protesters (non-interviewed)

9. Supporters (non-interviewed)

10. Other (specify)

Balance

1. Close to 50/50 for each party or side of the initiative (in terms of how much coverage is given in the story – time wise.)

2. All about the Democratic candidate

3. All about the Republican candidate

4. All pro-initiative

5. All anti-initiative

6. 75% or more Dem

7. 75% or more Rep

8. 75% or more pro-initiative

9. 75% or more anti-initiative

10. other (specify)

Advertisements

Office or Initiative

1. U.S. Congress

2. Governor

3. State Legislature (Senate or Assembly)

4. Other statewide office (Secretary of State, Attorney General, etc.)

5. Local race (Mayor, county office, city council, school board, etc.)

6. Initiative or ballot measure

7. Election in general

8. Other (specify)

 

Length of Ad – most will be 30 seconds.

 

Positive or Negative (intended to convince you to vote FOR the person featured (positive) or AGAINST the person featured (negative).

1. Positive

2. Negative

3. Combo

4. Can’t tell (explain)

Sponsor

Who sponsored the ad (this will be mentioned on-screen)

1. Democratic candidate campaign committee

2. Republican candidate campaign committee

3. Democratic Party

4. Republican Party

5. Interest Group

6. Other (specify)

 

GENERAL GUIDELINES

We are concerned with how well local TV news programs inform citizens during election season.  As such, we are monitoring election related stories which focus on races on the ballot in the Sacramento region only.

 

  1. Record data only for stories which explicitly cover campaigns, candidates, initiatives, or the election.  General government stories do not count unless they feature someone or something on the ballot in the Sacramento region on November 7.
  2. A single “story” follows a specific theme or topic and may have several parts to it.  For example, if the newscasters began talking about how the war in Iraq is impacting the CA governor’s race,  and then consulted a public opinion pollster and interviewed experts about Iraq and then talked to members of the campaign staffs, it would all still be considered one story – you might entitle it “Iraq and Gov’s race” or some such.
  3. Please be as careful and accurate as possible – this may mean rewinding several times.  We want to get the best possible data collected so that our report is as accurate as possible.
  4. The story frame category can be multiple.  If so, please prioritize your listings in the cell.  For example, if the story is mostly about the impact of the stem cell debate on the race and who it will help or hurt, but then it also mentions a little bit about which candidates hold which positions on stem cells, you would enter 1,3 in the cell.  This means that it was mostly a horse-race story, but also had some issue component.
  5. For who is interviewed, “experts” are considered partisan or not according to the official position they hold – not the content of their comments.  So a Professor would be “non-partisan” and a Democratic party spokesperson would be “partisan”
  6. “Teasers”, which tell you about stories which are coming up do not count for our purposes.

THANK YOU!