Many scholars rely upon the Vanderbilt television News Index and Abstracts to represent the topics covered by network broadcast news. Earlier research has shown that the Abstracts do not adequetely capture the evaluative tone of news, but the degree of topical correspondence between the abstracts and the full transcripts of newscasts has never been formally tested. This paper uses content analysis of transcripts of ABC's coverage of the 1991 Gulf War and the corresponding Vanderbilt Abstracts entries to assess the relationship between the topical content of newscasts and that of their abstracts. It demonstrates that under the right conditions, the topical content of news can be effectively represented in abstracts, but emerging topics and those not dicussed by the White House are likely to be underrrepresented in abstracts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas