Analysis: Our Commentaries and Backgrounders
This section, Commentaries and Backgrounders, contains our more concise research analyses, such as op eds, articles, speeches, and quick reports. These are distinguished from our more detailed empirical research studies. They are listed below in chronological order. Or you can use the menus on the left to filter our entire archive and find exactly what you want.
|December 6, 2006|
|There’s a battle brewing over whether the government should regulate the use of video news releases—prepackaged segments often produced for commercial clients—that look like news reports and sometimes appear on local TV newscasts. This PEJ backgrounder examines the dispute between television industry representatives and their critics.|
|December 4, 2006|
|What are the best newspapers in America? The question used to be hotly debated. But when Poynter.org readers were asked to weigh in recently there was tepid response. Does that reflect a stagnating newspaper industry? We offer the results of that effort here. But maybe the more interesting, or at least refreshing question, is what are the best news web sites. |
|November 30, 2006|
|Three decades later, the Washington Post’s reporting on the Watergate scandal is still spoken about with a hushed reverence as a singular journalistic achievement. The legend and mythology surrounding Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein continue to grow, even as the industry itself has changed. |
|November 22, 2006|
|According to the Student Press Law Center, large numbers of college papers are being stolen from racks and newsstands at an alarming rate this semester. In most cases, the perpetrators seem intent in quashing stories about controversial or unpopular subjects. And one advocate for student journalists thinks it’s time for college administrators to crack down on the problem. |
|November 15, 2006|
Suddenly, local ownership of newspapers is making something of a comeback. Since the breakup of Knight Ridder last year, and the threat of more cutbacks in newsrooms, private ownership groups and individuals have emerged in cities from Boston to Los Angeles wanting to buy the local paper. Who are they? A rundown.
|November 14, 2006|
How did newspapers play the Nov 7 election on their front page? Did they see an ideological realignment in the country, or some deeper shift? A review of the day-after headlines in 230 newspapers across the country reveals that it was nothing quite so dramatic and many tread closer to Sergeant Joe Friday’s “Just the Facts, Ma’am.”
|November 13, 2006|
|There was no shortage once again on cable and elsewhere in which pundits were asked how the midterm election would come out, something that of course by its nature was unknowable in advance. The general consensus among political prognosticators was that Nov. 7 was going to bring Democratic gains in Congress. Among a group of the most widely quoted election oracles, no one hit exactly what the final House tally appears likely to come out, but one prognosticator got very close.|
|November 9, 2006|
The final tally from the mid-term election is in—you know the poll in which people actually vote—and the media polls can now be graded. With each election, there are more media outlets, and more polls. Usually, the polls begin to converge as election day nears. This year, the polls varied widely. How did they stack up against the actual vote?
|November 7, 2006|
|As 11 p.m. neared on November 7 and the networks were about to sign off, NBC projected the Democrats would take control of the House though the results of many races were still out. It soon had company. In the next 21 minutes, all the networks and cable channels made their calls as well on what was still a fairly fluid map. This was the most the networks would do on a difficult night. |
|November 6, 2006|
|Problems with exit polls affected the last three election cycles and wreaked havoc with media coverage of the 2000 and 2004 presidential balloting. With the crucial 2006 midterm election upon us, exit pollsters hope they’ve resolved those troubling issues. What is the status of the poll?|