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by Mike Zazaian October 5, 2006 - 1:14pm, 2 Comments

Daily Show Just as Substantive as 'Real News,' Study Says

According to a study done by researchers at Indiana University, Jon Stewart delivers just as much factual information per minute as any of his ‘real news’ competitors.

Led by Julie R. Fox, assistant professor of telecommunications at IU, the study scrutinized coverage of the 2004 Democratic and Republican national conventions. Findings from the study indicated that the average amounts of video and audio substance in the broadcast network news stories showed no difference between news on the Daily Show and that of other networks. In addition, stories covered by the Daily Show were given more screen time than the average story of its competition.

It should be noted that the broadcast network news stories about the presidential election were ignificantly shorter, on average, than were The Daily Show with Jon Stewart stories, said Fox. The argument could be made that while the amount of substance per story was not significantly different, the proportion of each story devoted to substance was greater in the network news stories … On the other hand, the proportion of stories per half hour program devoted to the election campaign was greater in The Daily Show.

But with a topic that can be interpreted with some degree of subjectivity, how can substance remain constant throughout the study? According to Fox, substance was defined in the study as that which addressed issues included in the party platform or questions of candidate qualification. Said Fox, It is similar to criteria used by other scholars who examine political coverage—’image vs. issue’—but there’s consensus within the scholarly and journalistic communities that anytime there is discussion of issues in a campaign, that’s what would be considered substantive.

The study, called, No Joke: A Comparison of Substance in The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Broadcast Network Television Coverage of the 2004 Presidential Election Campaign, will be in the Journal of Broadcast and Electronic Media in the summer of 2007.

[via ars technica]