GDELT TV News Visual Explorer

Welcome to the GDELT Television News Visual Explorer, a collaboration with the Internet Archive's Television News Archive and the Media-Data Research Consortium to explore new approaches to enabling rapid exploration and understanding of the visual landscape of television news. For more than 20 years, the Internet Archive has monitored selected television news, with a continuous archive spanning the past decade. Today that archive is largely keyword searched through closed captioning, speech recognition transcripts and OCR'd onscreen text through the Television Explorer and Television AI Explorer. Yet, for many of the world's biggest stories from war to pandemics, it is the imagery through which those stories are told that distinguishes television news from other forms of media and which has been steadfastly inaccessible to journalists and scholars.   [More]

Machines today can catalog the objects and activities they see in video, but the ability to contextualize and understand the meaning of all of that imagery remains a uniquely human capability. Yet no person could watch the millions of hours of television news preserved by the Archive and television's linear format makes it difficult to rapidly triage a day's broadcasts by fast forwarding or clicking randomly through a video. To truly unlock the journalistic and scholarly potential of television news, a fundamentally new interface is required that pairs machines' ability to process vast volumes of data with the human mind's ability to sift meaning from the results.

Enter the TV News Visual Explorer. Each broadcast in a selection of channels is converted into a grid of thumbnails, one every 4 seconds and displayed in a grid six frames wide and scrolling horizontally through the entire program, making it possible to skim an hour-long broadcast in a matter of seconds. The underlying thumbnails can be downloaded as a ZIP to enable non-consumptive computational analysis, from OCR to augmented search.

This is a highly experimental research initiative focused on reimagining how memory institutions like the Archive can make their vast television news archives more accessible to scholars, journalists and informed citizens. It is optimized for desktop use under a modern web browser like Chrome. Video clips are streamed directly from the Archive and may experience delays or errors during periods of high load. Missing shows may become available later as they complete processing at the Archive or may have experienced technical problems in the recording process. Some shows may have A/V sync issues (audio drifting) or other artifacts due to the immense complexity of monitoring television news from around the world and transient issues with the underlying sources the Archive relies upon to monitor the channels.

Please contact Kalev Leetaru with any questions.


The following channels are currently included in the Visual Explorer. Shows with a star in front of them are less than 12 hours old and clips may not be playable yet.