Find your local NPR affiliate (check www.npr.org to find a nearby station) and a

Find your local NPR affiliate (check www.npr.org to find a nearby station) and a local news/talk station (usually on the AM dial). Compare and contrast the stations’ coverage by recording and listening to the same hour on the same day during the morning or afternoon drive time.
Description. Develop a profile of a full hour of news from each station, including the total time of news versus commercials/promotions/corporate sponsorships, the number and length of news stories, and the news story topics.
Analysis. What are the major differences between the news programs of the NPR affiliate and those of the commercial news station? Look for patterns.
Interpretation. Do you think that being nonprofit and publicly supported makes a difference in the content and length of a station’s news stories? Were longer stories more comprehensive and thoughtful? What do the differences mean?
Evaluation. Morning Edition and All Things Considered draw up to thirteen million listeners a day, far outpacing the number of people who read the Wall Street Journal or USA Today. Based on these news programs, does NPR deserve some kind of public funding mechanism that could keep it free of advertising? Do you think there is a difference in the kind of news and delivery provided by a noncommercial program versus a commercial one?

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