Political relevance in the eye of the beholder: Determining the substantiveness of TV shows and political debates with Twitter data

Mark Boukes, Damian Trilling
  • First Monday, April 2017, University of Illinois Libraries
  • DOI: 10.5210/fm.v22i4.7031

What is it about?

Addressing the call to move beyond a simple genre classification of TV shows as either substantive (hard) news or non-substantive (soft) infotainment, we propose using social media reactions to determine a program’s political relevance. Such an approach provides information that goes beyond genre or content characteristics and reflects what really reaches an audience. Analyzing tweets about two Dutch talk shows and four U.S. primary debates, we show that audience responses to television programs differ considerably regarding their political relevance. Thereby, we demonstrate how examining online audience reactions can be employed as a sophisticated and valid way to assess the political relevance of TV programs.

Why is it important?

It hands scholars an alternative measurement to assess the relevance and substantiveness of television programs.


Dr Mark Boukes
Universiteit van Amsterdam

Incorporating big data in the study of infotainment is innovative!

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Mark Boukes