Search TV Station Web Space By State With Marion’s Monocle

Google News search used to be lot more powerful in some ways than it is now. You could do things like limit your news results to a certain state. You can try it now using the syntax of location: and a US postal code, like location:nc, for example. When I test it, the first results look great, but then the further down you go the odder you get until suddenly you’re reading stories from The New York Post and random newspapers in Pakistan.

I think when you can do news searches limited to a state or region it gives you a different perspective on the news and more access to local reporting, as general Google news searches can get overwhelmed by wire service stories and less-focused content. With that in mind, I tried to figure out where I could find a data set that a) contained information on local TV stations, and b) was available for free. Eventually I figured out how to parse a search of the FCC license database and made Marion’s Monocle.

Marion’s Monocle accepts a query and asks you to choose a state. Once you’ve chosen a state it presents you with a list of television stations in the state and asks you to choose up to ten. After you choose It takes those ten stations, puts their official Web sites into a Google search using the site: operator and your initial query, and opens the results in a new window.

Is there a local story in your state that’s a big deal right now? Are you interested in seeing how different stations in your state cover different topics? Do you just want to create a managable number of search results for general news searches? Marion’s Monocle is here to help you out.

Marion’s Monocle is respectfully dedicated to and named after Marion Stokes, librarian, civil rights activist, and renowned citizen archivist. I encourage you to read about the Marion Stokes Project.

Please give MM several seconds to do its thing: it’s pulling licensing data from the FCC and then correlating it to official Web sites in Wikidata.

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