Inventorying The Visual Iconography Of Television News: Using AI To Count How Much Airtime Features Books

How often do books feature on television news? The timeline below shows the total daily seconds of airtime in which a book is visible somewhere onscreen. In the Covid-19 era this typically comes from a remote guest being interviewed at home with a bookcase behind them and sure enough we see book-related airtime soar as pandemic lockdowns spread. Interestingly, while all four channels show an increase post-Covid, BBC News and MSNBC both increase their airtime dramatically.

Indeed, we can see the two channels have featured books more than 1 million seconds (277.7 hours) since the start of last year.