C-SPAN Archives a Treasure Trove of Material for News Orgs

By Alex Weprin Comment

CSPAN092310.jpgWhenever there is a political story that the cable news channels aren’t covering (or at least aren’t covering in full) there is a good chance C-SPAN will be there. Did CNN or Fox News cover the 2008 Libertarian Party convention? Nope. Did any of them air the entirety of Glenn Beck’s rally in Washington? No. But C-SPAN carried both in full.

That is why C-SPAN’s massive video archive has become such a boon for news organizations. The archives, going back decades, contai a wealth of information about politicians and politics.

And as Republican U.S. Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell learned, it isn’t always positive. The C-SPAN archives turned into a research opportunity for political opponents and media organizations looking to dig up dirt on the candidate from Delaware.

As Howard Kurtz writes in the Washington Post:

In the media age, if you say something in front of a camera, it’s fair game. The challenge has always been to find these blasts from the past. C-SPAN makes it that much easier for journalists on deadline.