- A Qualitative and Quantitative Review of Canadian Online Political
ONLINE POLITICAL NEWS CONVERAGE
A STUDY OF FIRST BALLOT VOTING IN THE CANADIAN ALLIANCE
LEADERSHIP RACE (JUNE 22 - 24, 2000)
Inclusion and Screening
Ten Internet news Web sites were monitored for
four days at the climax of the Canadian Alliance leadership race,
June 23 - 26, 2000.
The print version of Canada's three largest circulating
newspapers (Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and National Post)
were monitored as a control group.
The first day of monitoring, Friday, June 23, 2000,
was selected to coincide with the opening day of the leadership
convention in Calgary, Alberta. Candidates made final speeches to
party members that evening. The following day, Saturday, June 24,
2000, was first ballot voting day. Sunday, June 25, was the first
opportunity for analysis and assessment of the voting results. Monday,
June 26, 2000 was the first day of the traditional newspaper news
cycle following the vote (two of the newspapers in the control group
did not have Sunday editions).
Each day of the study, the sites were downloaded
three times, based roughly around the average workday. Download
sessions began at 9:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 9:00 p.m. Each download
session took between 30 and 45 minutes.
The Web sites were selected to develop a sample
of Canadian political news offered on the Internet today. Most of
the Web sites monitored were selected, at least in part, based on
their ranking on the CyberAtlas compilation of the Top 50 Canadian
Sites of March 2000. Other sites were selected based on their established
presence as dominant sources of Canadian national political news.
These sites include both Internet portals and sites affiliated with
traditional media. Prescreening determined a reasonable expectation
of finding up-to-date Canadian political news on these sites. Unlike
comparable U.S. studies, the researcher was hard pressed to find
online newsmagazines or other Web sites featuring Canadian political
content unique to the Internet. Bourque Newswatch was included for
The Web sites included in this studied were:
For more information about each Web site, please
refer to the Web site profiles.
The control group consisted of Canada's three largest
circulating daily newspapers:
- Toronto Star (print version - control
- The Globe and Mail (print version -
- National Post (print version - control)
The news front page or political front page (where
applicable) of each site was defined as the front page for this
study. A political front page was only considered the front page
if it could be accessed by a bookmark. Each front page and lead
story was captured, saved to a disk and printed out for coding.
The print newspaper sample consisted of all news
stories related to the Canadian Alliance leadership race contained
in the front section of each print source, excluding the opinions
and editorial pages. Broadcast media were not included in this study
due to limited technical and financial resources at the disposal
of the researcher.
The researcher worked with a detailed, standardized
coding scheme. All pages were first coded for basic inventory variables
such as source, date and download time. Then, front pages were coded
for content variables such as number of stories, original reporting,
interactive elements, links to external sites and feature stories.
Next, the lead Canadian Alliance story on each front page was coded,
first for content (number of sources, general topic, changes in
lead story). For additional details regarding coding, please refer
to the coding sheet.
Please note, the methodology and coding process
for this study was modeled on the Committee of Concerned Journalists
study entitled "ePolitics: A Study of the 2000 Presidential
Campaign on the Internet," released April 10, 2000. This study
can be found online at http://www.journalism.org/epolitics.html.