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Postcards and laundromat visits: The Texas Tribune audience team experiments with IRL distribution
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Sept. 2, 2020, 2:15 p.m.
Aggregation & Discovery
LINK: tvnews.stanford.edu  ➚   |   Posted by: Hanaa' Tameez   |   September 2, 2020

While the use of local TV for news is declining, cable news is growing: Audience and revenue for Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN are all up this year. So which stories, and people, are getting the most airtime? Thanks to the Stanford Cable TV News Analyzer, anyone can query “the amount of time people appear and the amount of time words are heard in cable TV news.”

The tool uses “deep-learning-based image and audio analysis processing techniques” to pull from more than 270,000 hours of programming and commercial segments from Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC, dating back to January 1, 2010 and updating daily. “Computer vision is used to detect faces, identify public figures, and estimate characteristics such as gender to examine news coverage patterns. To facilitate topic analysis the transcripts are time-aligned with video content, and compared across dates, times of day and programs,” Geraldine Moriba, a journalist and filmmaker and 2019 JSK journalism fellow, explained on Medium. People can use the tool answer questions like “How much coverage does Trump receive compared to Biden? How did this change when coronavirus and the George Floyd protests came into the picture?” (There’s more on the methodology, and some findings, here.)

The tool helps “increase transparency around daily editorial choices,” Moriba noted. “How long are certain people on the screen? How often are certain words mentioned? What will you find when you compare these measurements across time, channel, and programs?”

The tool was created by the Computer Graphics Lab at Stanford University in collaboration with the John S. Knight Fellowship Program, with support from the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, Intel, Google, Amazon, and the National Science Foundation. The video dataset is from the Internet Archive’s TV News Archive.

Here are some of the queries people have run so far:

Check out the Cable TV News Analyzer here.

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