January 23, 2022

Research Tools: Data Sets to Better Understand 2016 Presidential Debates Provided by Political TV Ad Archive

UPDATE October 7, 2016 Datasets: TV News Coverage Data of Vice-Presidential Debate Now Available to Download (via Political TV Ad Archive)

UPDATE October 4, 2016 Keyword Search, View Video of Vice-Presidential Debate (via C-SPAN Video Library)

Three data sets (.csv format) with data from the First Presidential Debate are now available from the Political TV Ad Archive (an Internet Archive Initiative).

From an Introduction to the Data:

2016-10-01_14-49-22The Internet Archive and the Annenberg Public Policy Center are collaborating to help journalists and the public better understand how television news shows present what happens in the 2016 presidential debates in post-debate TV coverage. This includes which exchanges between the candidates get replayed on TV – and which do not get coverage – and how this affects public knowledge about issues from health care to immigration.

Analyzing how TV news show report on debates. Using the Duplitron, the open source audio ­fingerprint technology that fuels the Political TV Ad Archive project, the Internet Archive is analyze which video segments national broadcast and cable news shows choose to highlight in their post-debate reports.  Downloadable, detailed metadata will be available on which phrases from the debate get the most airplay on TV news show, broken down by network, program name, and location. This data will reveal which parts of the debate get the most attention ­­and which the least.


Providing the researchers and others with near real-time access to shareable video of debates. The Internet Archive will make available a free online archive of the televised debate. ***

The debates digital library will be searchable, include closed captioning, and users can designate short segments for quoting and embedding on social media or embedding them elsewhere online. All such embeds will present link-backs to the relevant segments in the debate library, to ensure context is preserved and assist further research. The Internet Archive will encourage the national fact-­checking partners on its Political TV Ad Archive project to use this resource as they fact­-check debates in near real-time.


[The first three data sets] reflect TV news coverage of the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on September 26, 2016. For the source media, we used the NBC broadcast, found here. To find matches by TV news shows, we examined video for:

  • September 26, 2016: two hours following the debates (10:41 to 12:41 EST) for Fox, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, Telemundo, Univision
  • September 27, 2016: two hours of shows (7:00 to 9:00 am EST) for Fox, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and Univision
  • September 27, 2016: three hours of morning shows (6:00 to 9:00 am EST) for MSNBC
  • September 27, 2016: two hours of shows from 4:00 to 6:00 am PST on PBS/Telemundo from our San Francisco feed.

Direct to Additional Documentation and Links to Download Data

See Also:UPDATE September 1 Ready, Set, Share! How To Post Quick Clips From Internet Archive’s Near Real-Time Livestream Of Debates

See Also: UPDATE September 30 Internet Archive Data Fuels Journalists’ Analyses Of How Tv News Shows Covered Prez Debate
oundup post from with  examples of how data was used.

See Also: Additional Downloadable Data Sets From Political TV Ad Archive

See Also: *** C-SPAN also provides a video search tool for not only the 2016 debate content but for more than 225,000 hours of (and constantly growing) collection of content of network content. They also offer an option to create custom clips to share with others.

See Also: 2016 Presidential Debates and Election: Two Resources to Analyze Social Media Discussion, Comments

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.