Seeking Political Ad Sleuths!

Today we’re launching the next phase of our ongoing work to shine much-needed sunlight on this year’s unprecedented political ad spending.

We’re announcing the Political Ad Sleuths: Campus Challenge, a nationwide effort in which Free Press and allied organizations will work with college faculty and students to find out who’s behind all the political ads dominating our airwaves.

Starting today we’re recruiting political ad sleuths on campuses around the United States and will be creating a set of resources that will allow faculty and students to connect this effort to coursework. We’ve also got great prizes and lots of guidelines on how to conduct inspections!

Join the investigation! Email CampusChallenge@freepress.net to get involved.

The Federal Communications Commission now requires stations affiliated with the four major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox) in the top 50 markets to upload their political files to an online public database. But only 200 out of more than 2,200 broadcast TV stations are required to post these files in time for November’s elections. All other stations—including those in key swing states and all of the nation’s Spanish language stations — can delay posting until 2014.

We want to fill that gap — and we need your help. Faculty and students around the U.S. have already inspected political files at stations in Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Wisconsin. And there are other campus efforts to investigate political ad spending, like Project Open Vault, which is based at the University of Missouri. But more work needs to be done.

Join the Campus Challenge today and help journalists and concerned members of the public access these files and uncover who’s behind these political ads.

Download a flyer and get in touch today.

The Political Ad Sleuths: Campus Challenge is part of an ongoing partnership between Free Press, the Sunlight Foundation and the New America Foundation.


If you'd like to support our file-inspection work, please consider a donation to the Free Press Action Fund.

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good