SPINDEX;DOLE/KEMP TICKET GRABS THE SPOTLIGHT FROM EVERYONE

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It's mourning again in America. Not the presumptive eulogizing of ailing former President Reagan, but the apparent death of unfiltered media coverage of political party conventions.

The Big 3 nets and party planners broke into a bare knuckles and backroom brawl over prime-time coverage of the Republican National Committee's heavily scripted and edited-for-TV convention.

But SPINdex, at least, wants its GOP-TV. Leading news organizations devoted 34,332 words of copy in the two-week period leading up to this week's column about the Republican National Committee's plans to produce its convention in the style of a fast-paced, prime-time TV show that downplayed party factions while emphasizing unity and "inclusion."

Three network TV newscasts, 29 daily newspaper, one newsweekly, two trade and seven wire stories about the convention's TV spin ranked third for the week with a SPINdex of 397.

But it was two other presidential campaign events that ranked ahead of the unconventional convention coverage: Bob Dole's selection of Jack Kemp for the No. 2 spot on his ticket and media coverage of the Reform Party convention.

Dole's 11th hour selection of Kemp inspired 110,783 words of copy in 21 network newscasts, 84 daily papers, four newsweekly and 39 wire service stories that contributed to a SPINdex of 1,852.

The event transformed and energized Dole's campaign going into the GOP convention and profoundly overshadowed the Reform Party's party, which earned a SPINdex of 505.

Presidential marketing surpassed media coverage of all other marketing events of the past week, but the concurrent opening of two new Robin Williams' films-one theatrically and one straight to home video-earned fourth place for the week with a SPINdex of 386.

Williams' starring role in "Jack" dominated the previous weekend's box office, grossing $11.3 million. TV news coverage of the film attracted 4 minutes of national airtime, 19 daily newspaper, one trade news and eight wire service stories. Combined with newspaper coverage of Williams' return to the role of Genie in Disney's home video release "Aladdin & the King of Thieves," Williams' performances generated 26,282 words of copy.

Joe Mandese is senior VP of Myers Reports. Mark Weiner is VP of Medialink PR Research.

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