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Reporting Elections: Rethinking the Logic of Campaign Coverage




Reporting Elections: Rethinking the Logic of Campaign Coverage

Stephen Cushion, Richard Thomas

ISBN: 978-1-509-51750-3 January 2018 Polity 224 Pages



How elections are reported has important implications for the health of democracy and informed citizenship.  But, how informative are the news media during campaigns? What kind of logic do they follow? How well do they serve citizens?e

Based on original research as well as the most comprehensive assessment of election studies to date, Cushion and Thomas examine how campaigns are reported in many advanced Western democracies. In doing so, they engage with debates about the mediatization of politics, media systems, information environments, media ownership, regulation, political news, horserace journalism, objectivity, impartiality, agenda-setting, and the relationship between media and democracy more generally.

Focusing on the most recent US and UK election campaigns, they consider how the logic of election coverage could be rethought in ways that better serve the democratic needs of citizens. Above all, they argue that election reporting should be driven by a public logic, where the agenda of voters takes centre stage in the campaign and the policies of respective political parties receive more airtime and independent scrutiny.

The book is essential reading for scholars and students in political communication and journalism studies, political science, media and communication studies.
  • Contents
  • List of Tables and Figures
  • Introduction: Studying Elections
  • Chapter One: Setting the Campaign Agenda
  • Chapter Two: Reporting Election Campaigns
  • Chapter Three: Making Sense of Horserace Reporting
  • Chapter Four: Regulating Balance and Impartiality
  • Chapter Five: The Trumpification of Election News
  • Conclusion: Rethinking Election Reporting
  • References
  • Index
"Thoroughly researched and well written, this is a major addition to the agenda-setting library, a nuanced, empirically grounded presentation of the key elements that define the political, media and public agendas during elections."
Maxwell McCombs, University of Texas at Austin

"This clear-sighted interrogation of the democratic performance of news organizations across several national and electoral contexts is of enormous value."
David Deacon, Centre for Research in Communication and Culture, Loughborough University

"Cushion and Thomas’s cross-national treatment of “air wars” during election campaigns provides lots of meat for scholars and students to absorb and ponder."
Jay Blumler, University of Leeds