Presentation of news content analysis of Ukrainian TV stations

The Academy of Ukrainian Press has presented the results of the tenth stage of news contents analysis of leading Ukrainian TV channels completed within the project “Monitoring of Political News” on September 8, 2004.

The research model is a content analysis of prime time news releases of leading Ukrainian TV channels for the first entire week of every month.

The project is carried out by research teams of the Academy of Ukrainian Press and the Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine through support of the International Foundation “Renaissance” and the US Embassy in Kyiv. Project leaders are Dr. Natalia Kostenko and Prof. Dr. Valery Ivanov.

Project’s goal is to determine state and dynamics of political news contents. 48 news releases with a total of 788 news messages have been analyzed.
The presidential campaign is correcting the model of news broadcasting. However, the influence is not significant.

In the first week of August 2004 the share of internal political news in the overall stream continues to grow (from 31% in July to 35% in August), however, it significantly varies across channels - from 2/3 of all news on the 5th Channel (64%) to 1/5 of all news on ICTV and New Channel (19% each).

There have been certain changes in the structure of news topics: reporting on President’s activity taking a priority spot during the past months reduced from 16% in July to 5% in August. Main weekly topics are the presidential election (13%) and the work of Prime Minister Yanukovych (7%). News that is related to the election campaign in both months constitutes a quarter of all news about Ukraine.

One-sided reporting of events in the news has remained on the level of the previous months (on average 92% in the overall news stream). The portion of internal political news covered from a single point of view is high throughout all channels exceeding 90% with the exception of the 5th Channel and CTБ (72-73%). Every sixth news report does not contain its source of information. Most of such news reports are released by the TV and Radio Company “Ukraina” (24%), and the least – by the 5th Channel (10%). At the same time, the news coverage has somewhat increased in the problem context (from 29% in July to 37% in August).

Out of the participants of the election process the political block “Our Ukraine” is given the most attention in the news, practically the only political structure to have increased the level of coverage as compared to July (6% vs. 4.5%). However, the increase does not exclude an ironic or negative context.

In terms of political figures most of the attention is paid to Victor Yanoukovych. A level of attention to him twice exceeding the attention level to the President (23% vs. 12%) supports the tendency that started with the beginning of the election campaign. Yanukovych is presented in the news as the main political figure of the state. His rating is also twice higher than the attention rating to his main political opponent V. Yushchenko (23% vs. 11%).

It should be noted that the attention gap between the two leading presidential candidates has decreased due to small decrease of Yanukovych’s rating and increase of Yushchenko’s rating. Every third news message about Yushchenko has a negative tone (3.5%).
The amount of time on air of the two presidential candidates shows that TV audience had a chance to listen to Yanukovych more often than to any other, though his overall live coverage has decreased as compared to July – from 1270 seconds in July to 499 seconds in August. Yanukovych has twice as many live news messages than Yushchenko (2.2% vs. 1.1%), and his speeches are 5 times longer than of the ones of the leader of “Our Ukraine”. The longest live coverage was also given to candidates who were invited to news programs of the 5th Channel. These are V.Nechyporuk (497 seconds), I.Dushin (373 seconds), S.Komisarenko (351 seconds).

As compared to the beginning of the presidential race the channels have become somewhat more differentiated as for reporting about the two main candidates. In July 7 out of 8 channels gave considerably more attention to Yanukovych as compared to Yushchenko, and only the 5th Channel gave equal time to both of them. In August ICTV, CTБ (each 9% vs. 7%) and 5th Channel (43% vs. 38%) equally spread their attention among the two candidates. However, attention in news releases of other channels still remained shifted towards Yanukovych (UT-1, TV and Radio Company “Ukraina”, and Inter with 26% vs. 8-12%, 1+1, Novy Channel with 19% vs. 6-8%). Live coverage of Yanukovych is present on all the channels except the 5th; Yushchenko speaks on such channels as TV and Radio Company “Ukraina”, CTБ, and 5th Channel. In general, the 5th Channel is the only one giving the widest coverage and reporting of presidential candidates including opposition leaders.