CMA announces study of Chicago's main PBS affiliate

Posted by Mitchell - July 19, 2004 (entry 215)

Chicago Media Action is pleased to announce the first of its media content analyses. The analysis is a study of Chicago Tonight, the flagship hour-long TV program of WTTW Channel 11, Chicago's main PBS affiliate. To our knowledge, this study is the most in-depth analysis of WTTW or of Chicago Tonight which has ever been conducted -- thirty episodes across three months involving more than 400 show guests.

[ Press release | Executive Summary | The Study | Appendix ]

Among the study's findings:

* The majority of stories are not news at all, with sports and entertainment making up over 55% of all stories covered. The guests are also overwhelmingly white, male, representatives from government or corporations or corporate media.

* Only whites were chosen to speak on business and economic topics, while whites were commentators on politics and elections more than 90% of the time.

* Guests who articulated perspectives that were outside the major political and economic establishment were all but absent: public interest representatives, citizen activists, and organized labor comprised just 3.1% of all guests _combined_.

With the release of this study and its implications, we encourage you to take a moment now to fax Sandra Guthman, the head of the WTTW Board of Directors.

Chicago Media Action has been coordinating publicity of this development with a number of journalists. We hope this announcement will make a big splash in the Chicago area and with concerned citizens across the United States, and can further efforts in media democracy. Be sure to visit the CMA newswire (left) and this very announcements scroll for the latest developments.

Press Coverage: Chicago Sun-Times (brief) | Free Press | Chicago Indymedia | Chicago Sun-Times (lengthier) | Media Channel (Danny Schechter) | Chicago Reader | | Chicago Indymedia feature | Chicago Reader (letter)

Radio Coverage: WBEZ -- Chicago's NPR affiliate (transcript) | WZRD's Noon Show (88.3 FM on Chicago's northside) on Friday, July 23 | WZRD's Tuesday Show on Tuesday, July 27

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