Hard Data on TV Political Advertisements to be Available for Philly Residents

By Joshua Albert

A site recently launched in partnership between political watchdog group Committee of 70, The University of Delaware, and the Internet Archive, will be providing hard data about which political candidates are advertising on major networks in Philadelphia.

The site, PoliticalAdSleuth.com, will be providing the station the advertisement was aired on; the date it was aired on; which political candidate placed the ad; and how much the ad cost. Neiman Lab reports:

The Internet Archive has launched a new project in Philadelphia that tries to address that problem with its institutional strength — gathering and archiving lots of stuff. The Archive is recording every minute of television news in Philly, as well as political ads aired on major broadcast stations. A mere 24 hours after broadcast, it will be possible to rewatch TV content online. In addition, the Archive will crawl content from across the web — news blogs, campaign websites and more — for their Philadelphia digital media landscape collection.”

“It’s the first time voters can see details on political ad buys “with the click of a mouse,” Sunlight Foundation managing editor Kathy Kiely told technical.ly/philly

Back in July, the FCC made it mandatory that all public broadcast companies make public (online) the details about candidates’ campaign spots and advertisements. Prior to this new regulation, broadcast companies were only required to have hard copies in paper form of that information, something that critics said made getting fair and accurate campaign facts cumbersome.

The project went live at a time when a recent Gallup poll revealed that trust in mass media is at an all time low.


Rodger McDonald, director of the Television Archive at the Internet Archive told Nieman Lab:

“As a library, it’s an open invitation to come and utilize our resources, collaborate with us to build up these resources for your own institutional benefit, and to elaborate on the information in the library. We’ll try to help people utilize and interact with the data. But we don’t create product. We won’t be saying: This is what you should do with this.”

As of now, the project is planned to provide details up until the 2014 election.

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