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Oil-soaked Images of Disaster: Identifying the National vs. Local Television Visuals
Unformatted Document Text:  7 week six (sustained coverage)? Method A content analysis was conducted for the first and sixth week of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill primetime television coverage. This included the evening newscasts of ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel and the local Baton Rouge affiliates - WBRZ and WAFB. The network newscasts were coded for the 5:30 p.m. Central Time half hour, while the local affiliates were coded for the 6 p.m. half hour of news. The cable newscasts were coded for the first thirty minutes of the 6 p.m. hour of news. The first and sixth week of the newscast were chosen for this study because both included key visual moments within the overall Oil Spill coverage. The first week of the newscast contained the fiery image of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon and during the sixth week the image of the oiled pelican emerged. The newscasts included in this study were weekday newscasts April 21 through April 28 and May 31 through June 8. This totaled 36 hours of national news and twelve hours of local news. Newscasts are continuously recorded at a large southeastern university using the recording device program SnapStream; they are then stored on multiple computer drives. As soon as the Oil Spill broke on air, the researchers had a separate computer drive created to safeguard the data and during the time of coding they were stored on two backup external drives. A testing sample of 10-percent (5 newscasts) was used to determine the list of visual categories and intercoder reliability. The categories formed included visuals of the initial accident, the spill out at sea, the spill on the land, the clean-up crews, etc. (See Appendix 1 for full list of categories). A list of twenty-five categories was determined, with a “twenty-sixth” category for other. A list of twenty-five categories was determined, with a “twenty-sixth”

Authors: Bemker LaPoe, Victoria. and Miller, Andrea.
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week six (sustained coverage)? 
A content analysis was conducted for the first and sixth week of the Deepwater Horizon 
Oil Spill primetime television coverage. This included the evening newscasts of ABC, CBS, 
NBC, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel and the local Baton Rouge affiliates - WBRZ and 
WAFB. The network newscasts were coded for the 5:30 p.m. Central Time half hour, while the 
local affiliates were coded for the 6 p.m. half hour of news. The cable newscasts were coded for 
the first thirty minutes of the 6 p.m. hour of news.   
The first and sixth week of the newscast were chosen for this study because both included 
key visual moments within the overall Oil Spill coverage. The first week of the newscast 
contained the fiery image of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon and during the sixth week 
the image of the oiled pelican emerged. The newscasts included in this study were weekday 
newscasts April 21 through April 28 and May 31 through June 8. This totaled 36 hours of 
national news and twelve hours of local news.   
Newscasts are continuously recorded at a large southeastern university using the 
recording device program SnapStream; they are then stored on multiple computer drives. As 
soon as the Oil Spill broke on air, the researchers had a separate computer drive created to 
safeguard the data and during the time of coding they were stored on two backup external drives.  
A testing sample of 10-percent (5 newscasts) was used to determine the list of visual 
categories and intercoder reliability.  The categories formed included visuals of the initial 
accident, the spill out at sea, the spill on the land, the clean-up crews, etc. (See Appendix 1 for 
full list of categories). A list of twenty-five categories was determined, with a “twenty-sixth” 
category for other. A list of twenty-five categories was determined, with a “twenty-sixth” 

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