Washington, DC briefing January 22 on new, free website tracking political ads

Political TV Ad Archive

The Internet Archive will be launching a new project — the Political TV Ad Archive — in Washington, DC. See details below, and stay tuned for updates:

Where: National Press Club, Murrow Room, Washington, DC

When: January 22, 2016, 9:00 am – 11:00 am

What: The Internet Archive launches the Political TV Ad Archive, an online, free digital library resource where reporters can find federal-level political TV ads in key primary states in the 2016 elections, married with fact-checking and information on the organizations funding the ads, along with downloadable metadata. Come hear about what Internet Archive and its partners have found so far:

  • When and where have ads aired?
  • Which ads contain the most egregious truth stretching or full-on lies?
  • Which candidates have been the focus of the most ads?
  • Who is paying for the ads, or is that information hidden?

Why: Political TV ad spending is expected to be in the billions. Yet the same local stations that air the ads provide very little solid reporting on politics. Even fewer correct misinformation in the ads. In partnership with trusted journalistic organizations, and with the support of the Knight News Challenge, an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the new Political TV Ad Archive will help reporters stop the spin cycle by providing contextual data and information to evaluate ads. The National Press Club Journalism Institute is co-sponsoring this event.

How: The Political TV Ad Archive is monitoring television in 20 key markets in eight states, starting with such locations as Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Sioux City in Iowa and Boston-Manchester in New England. The project is using experimental audio fingerprint technology to track political TV ads for federal races. On the new website, journalists can find embeddable videos of the ads along with downloadable metadata giving them the scoop on which ads have aired, where, and when. Data will also include information on the sponsor — whether it’s a super PAC, 501(c) group that does not disclose donors, candidate-sponsored ad, or some other entity — as well as the candidates targeted.


Roger Macdonald, Director, Television Archive, Internet Archive

Kathy Kiely, Board of Directors, National Press Club Journalism Institute

John Dunbar, Deputy Executive Editor, Center for Public Integrity

Robert Maguire, Political Nonprofit Investigator, Center for Responsive Politics

Lori Robertson, Managing Editor, FactCheck.org

Louis Jacobson, Senior Correspondent, PolitiFact

Glenn Kessler, Editor, The Washington Post’s Fact Checker

Nancy Watzman, Managing Editor, Television Archive, Internet Archive

Dan Schultz, Senior Software Engineer, Television Archive, Internet Archive

Online video will be available online 24 hours after event. Stay tuned for details and link.

Press Contact:

Nancy Watzman

6 thoughts on “Washington, DC briefing January 22 on new, free website tracking political ads

    1. nancyw Post author

      Hello. We will have video available online for viewing 24 hours after the event. We will post link on the blog.

  1. John Bernays

    I am watching a Show on Link TV right now about the Digital Public Library and I am agast! A Bald guy just said ” I see the Future of Scoiety as “Short” Reading, no one does “Long Reading” any more…these are Euphemisms for Mark Twains “People who don’t read and no better than people who are illiterate.”

    This is adressed in “Amusing ourselves to Death” and all Marshall Mc McLuhan’s Writings & speeches.

    I Have read so many Large Books I feel like a Neanderthal, I read James the brother of Jesus, by Robert Eisenman in 3 Days during a Blizzard in Arkansas, laying in fron of my Fire Place, I have read the entire Bible, from Front to Back in 3 Translations, the Reem-Douay in Original 3 Volumnes, lithographed and reduced to Library Format, the King James 1611, and the Oxford Revision, and Almost all HP Lovecraft & Thousands of SciFi after I turned 11, Oh Gosh, I can remember the Contents of Books I have read years ago But Cannot remember the Title or the Author! Of course I am 66 years old….but I have hope, remember A History of Knowledge
    Book by Charles Van Doren? He wrote about the Dark Ages, and only a Few monks kept Knowledge alive…..yet, “A Canticle For Lebowitz” (SIC) is the First Our Future…or the Canticle?

    Taking Hope from Morris Berman, who I met here at his Book Signing, the People with 1/2 a brain will be forced into the Monastic life….and even so, Presently America is the worst offender in Child Abuse in the Mental Alienation from Reading.

    Those of you My Age probably remember being called a “Egg Head” or “What are you, some new kind of nut?” I was a Ham Radio operator in 1958, and after I got my Adolescent Craziness, I used to Jam Neighbours AM Radios in Benton, Arkansas,with my Home Built AM Transmitter. My saving grace, I was the Best Hot Licks Guitar in Saline County…I was in several fights, but ….I Just studied my Dad’s Books on Judo & Ju-Jitsu, the Bullies learned a 5’2″ Kid could do stuff…1963…yeah, Years and Years before Kung Fu!

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