The A. C. Nielsen audimeter and film cartridge, along with a viewing diary, measured radio or television use. Devices like this one gathered data on family listening and viewing habits from 1949 into the 1970s. Connected to a radio or television, they registered set use and station tuning by exposing 16-mm film to a pinpoint of light.
When changed by the homeowner on a weekly basis, the film cartridge ejected a quarter to assure timely mailings to the Nielsen Company for analysis. The tabulation of viewing data gleaned from the sample homes enabled media specialists to hone or redefine the president's presence on television.
Jimmy Carter giving an address to the nation from the Oval Office
Courtesy of Jimmy Carter Library
Television coverage ultimately changed the events it aimed to document and helped transform the style of all aspects of political life. These convention credentials from 1960 and 1984 reflect the press attention paid to the process of electing the president.