Cornerstone of “Commitment 2006” program is airing a minimum 10 minutes of political news daily at 26 stations and their Web sites.
Hearst-Argyle Television announced the rollout of Commitment 2006, a company-wide plan for political news coverage of national, state and local election campaigns at the company’s 26 news-carrying TV stations, and on their respective local Web sites.
As part of Commitment 2006, Hearst-Argyle is increasing its pledge of a minimum amount of airtime for daily political news and candidate-discourse coverage to 10 minutes—including at least five minutes of original content each day—per weekday and, where possible, on weekends, in the 30 days leading up to the primary and general elections at each of its news stations. In 2000 Hearst-Argyle was an early adopter of a minimum five-minute commitment of total airtime, acting on a recommendation of a presidential commission on TV broadcasters’ public-interest obligations.
“We believe strong local political coverage is good local television news,” said David Barrett, president/CEO of Hearst-Argyle Television. “With the expansion of our ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œcommitment’ to our morning newscasts, our viewers will have the option of finding this important aspect of localism on both evening and morning newscasts. And, with the expanded coverage on the Web, we are providing quality converage to our news consumers, no matter whether they choose our broadcast or our digital news brand for their immediate political update.”
As part of Commitment 2006, Hearst-Argyle stations will expand upon elements from prior Commitment projects, such as town hall meetings, debates and “AdWatch,” “Issue Check” and “Truth Check” segments, and will develop a number of other approaches to extend and maximize election coverage online, with a particular emphasis on reaching younger voters.
“We will continue to urge major political candidates to appear on our television stations,” Barrett added. “In return, we pledge to continue to provide the most thoughtful, in-depth, intelligent, responsible and responsive electronic news coverage of the political process in our markets.”
Hearst-Argyle’s earlier Commitment 2000, Commitment 2002 and Commitment 2004 programs earned Walter Cronkite Awards from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication.