Students in a broadcast journalism class at Kent State visited the four local TV stations in Cleveland (3, 5, 8, and 19) with one goal: to access the political ad data that each organization must make available to the public. This week, the FCC will vote on whether stations must put these numbers — what candidates, groups, etc. bought ad time and for how much — online; currently, it's only in hard-copy form and you have to go get it.
Simple enough request, right? And being broadcast journalism students, the Kent Staters decided to bring along a camera on their visits.
As it turns out, that move wasn't entirely welcomed by the local TV stations, despite the fact that they make their entire livings sticking cameras and microphones in the faces of other folks. Channels 3, 5, and 8 specifically declined to be filmed for the piece. You can see the "Please, turn off the camera!" moments in the video below. They all feel so familiar, except it's usually Carl Monday on the other end of the mic, not a wholesome KSU student.
Were this anyone else, this is the brand of hyped-up tease the stations would lay out at the start of the newscast: Hypocritical move at Fox 8? Tune in at 5 to find out! What exactly are they hiding? Our team investigates. Maybe the secret is in Wayne Dawson's hair? Stay tuned after that for Allie LaForce with a scintillating sports story your grandmother already told you about five days ago.
(In another dick move, the stations wanted to charge the students $0.50/page for copies. A) That's ludicrous, and B) That's the sort of pricing shenanigans the stations would call BS on if they were coming from the county or the city. In fact, Tom Meyer would do a seven-part series on it.)