News & Information

Sac State, KCRA, Capital Public Radio dissect political ads


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Sacramento State’s Project for an Informed Electorate (PIE), KCRA-3 News and Capital Public Radio have joined forces to analyze and rate this year’s political ads. And that’s only one piece of PIE (, a project founded and directed by Sac State Professor Kim Nalder.

The mission of PIE is to foster a greater understanding of politics and government by identifying, creating and disseminating accurate, open and nonpartisan information.

Other elements include holding public forums regarding political candidates and issues, and researching factors that influence voters and elections at the PIE lab at the Institute for Social Research.

For Ad Watch, three independent experts from the University’s faculty, selected for their particular expertise, view, review and grade ads for candidates and ballot measures, giving each a score in a number of categories, such as truthfulness.

The scores are then averaged to produce a letter grade.

The text of the reviews, as well as video of the spots, is available online at KCRA is taking the process a step further, showing portions of the ad intermixed with commentary from the three reviewers. Each segment is five to six minutes. A sample, examining a No on Proposition 45 ad, can be viewed here:

Events include the Initiative Explainer ( at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, in the Tsakopoulos Galleria of the Sacramento Library on I Street. The free forum includes presentations from Legislative Analyst’s Office experts, plus more information on who is endorsing and financing the measures. Questions are welcome. It is open to the public, and refreshments will be provided by the Center for California Studies. Video of the explainer will be available to stream from PIE after the event.

For more information on PIE, visit the website, “like” PIE on Facebook, follow PIE on Twitter @PIESacState or email For media assistance, call Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156. – Craig Koscho