The Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School Establishes 'Reliable Resources for Broadcast Political Coverage' With $1.3 Million Grant From the Pew Charitable Trusts

'Reliable Resources' Will Identify, Develop and Distribute Tools to Help Local

Stations and Network Television Provide Innovative and Informative Political


Jul 06, 2000, 01:00 ET from The Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School

    LOS ANGELES, July 6 /PRNewswire/ -- The Norman Lear Center at the USC
 Annenberg School for Communication has established "Reliable Resources for
 Broadcast Political Coverage."  The project, funded by a $1.3 million grant
 from the Pew Charitable Trusts, will focus on improving political coverage on
 broadcast television by identifying, creating and distributing tools for local
 stations and network television.  This unique effort will attempt to address
 the problem of an unengaged public, not only by identifying what works in
 political coverage, but also by putting that information, in an easy to use
 format, into the hands of the broadcast decision makers.
     "Broadcast news is still the largest public square we have in American
 democracy," said Martin Kaplan, USC Annenberg School for Communication
 associate dean and director of the Lear Center.  "But the pressure for ratings
 has driven politics from the news, except as a horserace.  Our goal is to give
 broadcasters the tools they need to make important information interesting to
 big audiences -- to cover civic life as successfully as they cover traffic,
 weather, sports, crime and entertainment."
     "Our project is designed to help hundreds in TV news who want to do a good
 job and cover politics but are not being given the resources and support they
 need," said Cinny Kennard, former CBS News correspondent and now assistant
 journalism professor at the USC Annenberg School.  "The foot soldiers in the
 trenches of television news are told the viewing audience doesn't want
 political news.  We want to help them make the case that Americans want and
 need high-quality TV coverage of issues and candidates."
     Reliable Resources is a two-year project that will:
     -- Create videotape presentations showcasing the most creative and
        informative Campaign 2000 television coverage for dissemination to
        television newsrooms.
     -- Create a cyber-guide containing sources, tips, and info for political
        journalists, based at the Reliable Resources web page.
     -- Hold regional workshops, some of which will be in conjunction with
        broadcasters' professional associations and mid-career training
     -- Reward the country's best broadcast political coverage at local and
        network levels, with the newly-established USC Annenberg Walter
        Cronkite Award for Excellence in Broadcast Political Coverage.  The
        first award will be presented in Washington D.C. next year.
     -- Showcase the importance of political coverage on broadcast and local
        television at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, where
        Reliable Resources will make its first public presence (details
     -- Create an advisory board comprised of distinguished political
        scientists and broadcast journalists.
     The goal of Reliable Resources ( is to develop
 and distribute tools to help local and network television provide innovative
 and informative political coverage, and to recognize and reward those efforts.
     The Norman Lear Center ( is a multidisciplinary
 research and public policy center exploring implications of the convergence of
 entertainment, commerce, and society.  The impact of entertainment on news and
 politics is a principal focus of the Lear Center
     The Pew Charitable Trusts ( support nonprofit activities
 in the areas of culture, education, the environment, health and human
 services, public policy and religion.

SOURCE The Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School