Television Explorer


Released today, this tool lets you query US news coverage since 2010.

Television Explorer allows you to keyword search the closed captioning streams of the Internet Archive's 6 years of American television news. The tool breaks down over one million news shows into individual sentences, and reveals macro-level trends related to your selected keyword’s coverage.

For journalists looking to follow coverage of a particular person or issue over time, the tool provides a strong metric of media attention to go by. Rather than revealing that CNN had 24 shows that mentioned Donald Trump, for instance, the tool will count how many sentences used by CNN presenters mentioned his name.

In addition, Television Explorer provides a fail-safe to prevent results from being jeopardised by mentions outside of your context. Simply input a context keyword to refine results by only counting cases where the primary keyword appears within four sentences of the context keyword.

Once you’ve selected your keywords, you can choose for your results to be output as a timeline visualization, or you can download the raw counts in CSV and JSON.

An example: Coverage of Paris Hilton

Say you want to gauge if the American media still considers Paris Hilton to be relevant. Using the Television Explorer, we can search for all mentions of her name on US national networks between 2009 and now.


Which yields the following visualization:


From this result, we can see that coverage of Paris Hilton spiked in mid-2010, with a brief resurgence in 2011, but has dwindled ever since. Interestingly, coverage of Paris Hilton has not been consistent amongst outlets; instead, most instances are clustered around one outlet.

Visit the Television Explorer webpage here to explore more.

Image: ed100.